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Letter From the Deans - Issue 16

Rod Alferness
Rod Alferness
Dean, College of
Pierre Wiltzius
Pierre Wiltzius
Dean of Science
College of Letters
& Science
David Awschalom
David Awschalom
Scientific Director
California NanoSystems

When you think of our nation’s most accomplished and prestigious universities for science and engineering, which come to mind? Stanford and Caltech? UC Berkeley? Did you know that UC Santa Barbara tops the same lists at the most well-known institutions and, in some cases, ranks higher?

While university ranking systems differ widely, from U.S. News and World Report to the National Research Council (NRC) rankings, UCSB tops the lists for all of them.

In the NRC’s 2010 report on U.S. Research-Doctorate Programs, 10 of our 31 doctoral programs ranked in the Top 5. All of the departments in UCSB’s College of Engineering made the Top 5 lists for their programs. In Materials, UCSB was ranked #1 across its range – above any engineering department in the country.

What makes UCSB rank so highly? From report to report, it’s a combination of impact of research, reputation with our peers, the brightest incoming students, awards, citations, research grant funding, and much more.

Around campus, we also like to think that our interdisciplinary approach to solutions-oriented research with global impact helps us attract great students and distinguished faculty. Engineering and the sciences at UCSB form a unique community that seeks out opportunity and pursues it vigorously.

This year the College of Engineering bids farewell to outgoing acting dean, Larry Coldren, and we thank him for two years of incredible leadership – and for remaining a valued member of our faculty. We proudly welcome incoming dean, Rod C. Alferness, who joins us following a distinguished career that culminated as Chief Scientist at Bell Labs.

When we asked Rod why he chose UCSB, he cited his experience from many years at Bell Labs that instilled in him a critical need to solve the world’s key problems. What he saw in UCSB was a highly functional model wherein disciplines work together to efficiently pool funding resources for top-level research, and how this model empowers researchers to be driven to succeed.

Larry and Pierre couldn’t agree more.