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Remarks from the College of Technology and Innovation dean

December 14, 2009

Dean’s Remarks
CTI Newsletter, Fall 2009
Keith D. Hjelmstad
University Vice President and Dean

Last year was my first as University Vice President and Dean of the College of Technology and Innovation. It was a year full of excitement and change, drama and angst. Last year we substantially reorganized the College to better position ourselves for our very bold and very bright future.

This year we are refining the organizational structure and fully launching a new vision of the College.

You can already see signs of change in our new college logo, which is designed to advance the notion of “technology and innovation” as being reflective of what we do and how we do it, while at the same time advancing the single objective of “technology innovation” as our vision.

In my attempts to provide a simple message about the vision of the College of Technology and Innovation I am inclined to describe it in the following terms:

Technology lives at the crossroads of science, engineering, and business. In the College of Technology and Innovation we are redefining the educational gateway to these professions. Our science is applied, our engineering is interdisciplinary, and our business is technical. And they are all connected in innovative ways to give our students the tools to thrive in a world driven by technological advances.

As we drive toward the future, the College of Technology and Innovation will emerge as a very coherent set of programs and a unified and unique approach to education. We are advancing strongly on the fronts of innovation (we must live up to our name, after all) and entrepreneurship. Over time you will see this influence permeate all of our programs.

We have some recent achievements that are worthy of note:

Two of our faculty—Milt Sommerfeld and Quiang Hu—were named Innovators of the Year at the Governor’s Celebration of Innovation. They won the honor for their work in converting algae to jet fuel and other useful substances. What a great accomplishment for them and what a fitting and inspirational accomplishment for our College. Innovation is not so much a subject that we teach as it is the spirit with which we approach all tasks. We aim to innovate in technology but we are also keen on innovating in our approach to education.

We opened the Ottosen Air Traffic Control Simulation Laboratory this semester, too. The Air Traffic Management program is drawing lots of interest nationally and internationally and now we have a laboratory that is more advanced than any other university in the world. This laboratory is emblematic of our commitment to teach our students in the context of the real world and to provide the experiences that will set them apart from their peers. The generous gift from Don and Barbara Ottosen which allowed us to build the lab has put us into a place of prominence in our aviation programs.

We launched our residential community, called Technology House, this year. This living/learning community is designed to allow new freshmen in the College of Technology and Innovation to live in proximity to others who are pursuing similar educational objectives. With a community assistant, an upper division resident mentor, and a team of faculty advisors, the students in Tech House get some well-deserved attention that should benefit them in their first year on campus. My hope for Tech House is for it to become the residence option of choice for new students in the College of Technology and Innovation. And as it does, we will increase the capacity to accommodate the burgeoning interest.

For those who are watching the campus grow out of the ground, it was a pleasure to celebrate the completion of the Backus Mall—named for the founding Provost of the Polytechnic campus—on November 18th. Very soon the work on the Aravaipa Auditorium will be complete, I hope in time to hold some classes there in the spring semester.

I am looking forward to seeing how much we can accomplish this year. We have great students. We have a great team of committed professionals who are focused on making the College of Technology and Innovation the best place to work and to study. As we work together, nothing can stop us!