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Envisioning our shared future

Welcome to the Fall 2017 issue of Resolve ― a magazine dedicated to research and educational innovation in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science at Lehigh University.

I have truly enjoyed my first year as dean of the Rossin College! I am continually inspired by the passion, ingenuity, and motivation of the members of our College and University community. We are working together to aggressively enhance the strategy and mission of the College. I wanted to take this opportunity to provide an update on our progress.

Last year, we initiated an Envisioning Process for the Rossin College. We used this faculty led process to gather thoughtful feedback from across our community and to set targets for strategic growth and investment in our future. The process focused on innovating our learning environments and on enhancing our research culture, impact, and reputation.

One primary outcome of the Envisioning Process was the identification of a set of interdisciplinary research themes in which Lehigh has the potential to make a significant long-term societal impact. Three initial themes have emerged: Materials and Devices, Data and Computation, and Infrastructure and Energy. By building upon our current strengths and by strategically investing in our future, Lehigh intends to be among the leading research universities in the world in these focused areas. These themes and the associated proposed Interdisciplinary Research Institutes are the focus of our “Special Feature” in the edition of this magazine.

Throughout this issue of Resolve, you will notice many examples of ongoing research that align with these themes, along with other developments around campus that serve to bolster and support our strategy.

The main feature article is centered on our researchers’ approach to “Smart Infrastructure for Connected Communities." It serves as a perfect example of a set of interrelated research challenges that sits squarely within our interdisciplinary framework. The demands and side effects of society’s reliance upon energy, communications, structural, and transportation systems—magnified greatly in an urban setting—requires a broad approach that’s focused not only engineering systems, but on engineering of systems to improve lives.

Other articles in this issue cover similarly connected topics in areas such as robotics and UAVs, healthcare data mining, solar cell production, cancer detection through artificial intelligence, and structural resilience, to name a few.

Over the summer of 2017, we proudly launched a new Department of Bioengineering within our College. This formal designation as a department reflects the importance of the field, as well as its emergence at Lehigh over the past 15 years. The Department will undoubtedly serve as conduit between Rossin College and Lehigh’s forthcoming college for integrated health.

The renovation of Building C — an expansive, they-don’t-make-them-like-this anymore industrial structure recently taken over by Lehigh — is coming down to the final stretch. When completed, the building will retain its ‘Beth Steel’-era charm, but will be reborn, as the article says, as a cutting-edge center for 21st century innovation and education.

Last but certainly not least is an article about efforts underway across our College to enhance the diversity of our community. While there’s a lot of work to be done in this area, programs such as the Greer Scholars, ADVANCE, and CHOICES are great examples of Lehigh stepping up and doing its part to open the doors of engineering to any talented mind willing to take on the challenge.

Thank you as always for your interest in Lehigh engineering and the Rossin College, please drop me a line with your thoughts and comments.

Stephen P. DeWeerth, Professor and Dean

P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science
steve.deweerth@lehigh.edu