Welcome message from Dean Nembhard

Dear Iowa Engineering Community,

I am excited and honored to begin serving as dean of the College of Engineering.

As engineers, our charge is to solve problems that address the needs of society and the welfare of humanity. The impact of engineering, and specifically Iowa Engineering, can be seen in what we do—the tangible results of our engineering research, teaching, and innovation are nothing short of transformative.

Iowa Engineers work to provide clean water for our community and communities across the globe.

Iowa Engineers have produced medical technologies for use in disease detection and prevention, enhancing healthcare delivery in communities nationwide and around the world.

Iowa Engineers build bridges, real and metaphorical, that connect communities and provide access to resources.

Iowa Engineers innovate in the field of transportation so that automated vehicles can be used safely and confidently in both urban and rural communities.

Iowa Engineers have harnessed big data and machine learning so that smart technologies can help farmers plant fields and predict weather patterns, helping keep food on the table in their communities and in communities across Iowa and throughout the United States.

Without a doubt, the technologies and breakthroughs that have come out of our college support communities. But our work is about much more than that—Iowa Engineers build communities in every sense of the word. As students come to the Seamans Center, where most of their engineering work will take place, we want them to feel welcomed and embraced by our engineering community. Establishing a sense of belonging and connecting students to the places in which they develop will enhance their experience far beyond what we can teach them in classrooms or what they can learn in textbooks. By choosing to join our college, they have found the place where they belong: where they will learn from their mentors, where they will be challenged to think broadly about the social and cultural impact of their work, and where they will make life-long friends.

Before students come to Iowa and throughout their time here, we tell them they will become an engineer and something more, and it is that “more” which distinguishes our college from other colleges of engineering across the country. Students who join our college are part of a large comprehensive university which has a long history of providing an education that merges the sciences, the arts, communication, medicine, and entrepreneurship. By focusing on collaboration, and not competition, the successes of our students are defined not only by the completion of labs or scores on exams, but also through project-based group assignments that mirror the kinds of teamwork that will be required in their lives beyond the university. From the start of courses such as Engineering Problem Solving through the capstone Senior Design course, our students must problem-solve and innovate together working towards a common goal of developing engineering solutions that will enhance business operations, deploy ground-breaking technologies, and improve quality of life.

As a college, it should be our mission to fuel the passions of our faculty, staff, and students – passions for learning, passions for discovery, passions for developing the next breakthroughs that will change the world. As we nurture these passions across our whole college, we recognize the challenges that we have met and continue to encounter. I joined the College of Engineering at an unprecedented time as we faced a global health pandemic, a renewed and long overdue discussion of systematic racism, and a diminished budget reality. Despite these challenges, I know that this college will endure and will come out stronger and more deeply committed to student success, social justice, and equity. Our students will graduate as globally aware and socially responsible engineers whose time at Iowa will define their contributions to the communities in which they live, work, and thrive. Importantly, we will continue to look to the wisdom and support of our friends, alumni, and industry partners as we produce the next generation of Iowa Engineers.

We will continue to build on the College of Engineering’s reputation of producing innovations that have changed the world and delivering an education that has transformed lives. As engineers, we must recognize that it is our calling to make this world a better place – through technology, through the recognition of ethical engineering, and through ensuring that our community and the communities that we impact are made welcoming and safe by our work.

Harriet B. Nembhard Dean, College of Engineering Roy J. Carver Professor of Engineering University of Iowa