In her first year as dean, starting in September 2020, Dean Andrea Goldsmith led strategic planning to drive the school's growth over the next decade and to maximize its positive impact for humanity. This page summarizes the principal goals and objectives of the plan as well as initial progress.

The importance of engineering and technology to address the most challenging problems facing humanity has never been more apparent. The global pandemic, accelerating climate change, entrenched racism and other structural inequalities in society – these are just a few examples of pressing issues that have substantial technological components as well as a web of interactions across politics, economics, culture and society.

This moment for society also is a critical inflection point for the School of Engineering and Applied Science. In order to solve the most challenging problems facing humanity, we must seize the opportunity of this inflection point to significantly increase the impact of the school by:

  • Creating new knowledge and technologies that benefit humanity;
  • Inspiring through education and mentoring tomorrow's engineers, technologists, and leaders within a diverse and inclusive environment
  • Transforming Princeton, New Jersey, the country, and the world through our research, education, service, and innovation.

SEAS Today

The school has exceptional strength in the disciplines of its six departments as well as highly effective interdisciplinary research and teaching in its four centers and institutes.

  • 164 Faculty: 20% of Princeton faculty
  • 167 Postdocs: 24% of Princeton postdocs
  • 833 Graduate students: 27% of Princeton graduate students
  • 1588 Undergraduates: 30% of Princeton undergraduates
  • 8700 Undergraduate course enrollments
  • 72% of AB students take a course in SEAS
  • $629M Sponsored research awards in FY21: 26.5% of Princeton total

Strategy to Achieve Success

The "secret sauce" of Princeton Engineering is that the school is an integral part of one of the world's greatest liberal arts universities, with a highly collaborative environment that leverages world-class expertise across many areas to address complex societal problems. Building on this strength we will:

  • Grow the number of faculty and graduate students strategically to ensure Princeton leadership in transformative areas of engineering and technology
  • Forge stronger ties across and outside engineering to leverage Princeton’s strengths and collaborative culture
  • Create a new neighborhood and buildings for the school to catalyze collaborations and support state-of-the-art research
  • Foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and industry partnerships to enhance our research and teaching and magnify its impact
  • Enhance diversity, inclusion, and equity within SEAS to attract the very best faculty and students and to maximize their success.

Research Priorities

Our priorities for growth will focus on "human-centered" engineering that maximizes the benefit of our new knowledge and technologies for people, societies, the country, and the world. This will include interdisciplinary initiatives cutting across engineering, as well as science and the humanities. Our focus will be on high-impact research areas where Princeton can lead, including

  • Bioengineering
  • Robotics
  • Quantum and semiconductor technology
  • Resilient cities
  • Data Science, artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Other emerging opportunities

At the same time, we will support and leverage our current interdisciplinary centers and institutes:

We also will ensure our six departments have the size and culture to maximize impact in their disciplines and to contribute to interdisciplinary research areas.

Initial Progress


Growth of Faculty and Graduate Students

Our strategic plan requires significant growth of the faculty and graduate students in order to have the disciplinary and interdisciplinary expertise to maximize the impact of SEAS. This includes the following growth plan:

  • Increase the size of the faculty by 30 in five years – net growth after retirements and new hires
  • Increase number of graduate students by 125 over five years

Since SEAS is planning significant growth, we also have the opportunity to significantly diversify our faculty and student population. Our detailed plan to enhance diversity, inclusion and equity has already borne fruit in our faculty and graduate student hiring as well as in improving the climate of the school to embrace our goals in this area.

Initial progress

  • Net growth of faculty by 10 from fall 2020 to fall 2021
  • Increased graduate students by 30
  • Leveraged growth to increase diversity (see below)

Infrastructure Priorities: New Engineering Neighborhood

The new neighborhood for engineering will be transformative, not only providing our faculty with state-of-the-art facilities , but also in creating spaces and catalysts for collaboration across SEAS and across Princeton. The infrastructure priorities include:

  • Creating the new SEAS neighborhood with all departments built or under construction in 10 years
  • Completing the buildings for bioengineering and for the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering in 2024
  • Completing Schmidt Hall for the Department of Computer Science and related centers in 2027
  • Repurposing the E-Quad for innovation, initiative, and project space

Initial progress

  • F wing of EQuad renovated for robotics space
  • Municipal approval processes under way for new neighborhood

Education Priorities

In order to educate and inspire tomorrow's engineers, technologists, and leaders, we plan the following initiatives:

  • Cross-cutting Initiatives
    • Design and entrepreneurship (fall 2021 launch)
    • Diversity, inclusion, and equity: (fall 2021 launch)
    • Winter session courses and experiences: (January 2022 launch)
  • Postdoc Initiatives
    • Fellowships for interdisciplinary areas, to foster collaborations, and to spur tech transfer (Bioengineering launched)
  • Graduate Initiatives
    • MS programs: Grow 1-year M.Eng. program beyond Princeton students: Applications now open to all
    • New graduate degree programs/certificates in data science, robotics, bioengineering, quantum engineering, material science
  • Undergraduate Initiatives
    • New undergraduate degree programs/certificates in robotics, bioengineering, material science, engineering and the arts
    • Strengthen first-year engineering courses in math and physics that teach through engineering examples. Diverse and First-Gen students have a much higher retention rate in the engineering major when they take these courses.
    • More engineering-based freshman seminars to inspire a broad cross-section of Princeton freshmen to study engineering.
    • Expand summer REUs (some joint with industry)

Initial Progress

  • Created new 1-year master's programs
  • Keller Center launched Program in Institutional and Historical Racism in Engineering, Technology, and Innovation
  • Started interdisciplinary postdoctoral fellowships in bioengineering
  • Started REU jointly with Intel

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Priorities

In order for Princeton to serve as a catalyst for a diverse and inclusive high-tech hub throughout the tri-state region, we plan the following initiatives:

  • Human-centered design initiative
    • Differentiates design at Princeton
    • Consistent with Princeton's informal motto of service to humanity
    • Sparks entrepreneurship and innovation
  • A cutting-edge innovation hub within SEAS
    • Spearheads innovation and entrepreneurship in emerging research areas
    • Catalyst for a new culture of innovation, out-of-box thinking, and transfer to practice
    • Fosters connections between entrepreneurs and startup enablers
  • Foster strong ties with industry through affiliates programs
  • Build alliances with accelerators, venture capitalists, and startup enablers

Initial Progress

  • New NSF iCorps hub led by engineering faculty
  • Joint proposal with the State of New Jersey and Princeton is the winner of a national competition for a HAX accelerator location, with a commitment to bring in 100 hard-tech startups over five years
  • Initiating Tigerworks, including design@ Princeton, an innovation hub, and entrepreneurship programs and platforms

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Priorities

Our school and the engineering profession cannot thrive in solving the greatest challenges facing humanity without embracing the diverse ideas and experiences of people with different backgrounds. To reach our full potential collectively, all talented contributors must be welcomed to a supportive community that allows each to reach their full potential. Our plan to enhance diversity, inclusion, and equity in the school include the following initiatives:

  • Increase Faculty Diversity
    • Implement best practices to hiring, recruitment, and retention with strong Dean engagement
    • Ensure maximum success trajectory for all faculty, particularly diverse faculty
    • Increase pipeline, e.g. through SEAS Pathways into the Academy
  • Increase Graduate Student Diversity
    • Implement best practices in admissions and recruitment
    • Ensure maximum success trajectory for all graduate students, particularly diverse students
    • Grow MS programs in engineering to diversify our graduate population and provide pathways to Ph.D. programs
  • Increase Undergraduate Student Diversity
    • Support and grow first-year engineering courses that attract and retain exceptional diverse students
    • Launch summer REUs to diversify the pipeline to graduate school
  • Strengthen SEAS Culture
    • Ensure a diverse, inclusive, and equitable culture that maximizes success of all SEAS constituents

Initial Progress

In the first year alone, these initiatives have resulted in significant progress on diversity, inclusion and equity, including the following successes:

  • Of the faculty hires over the past year (AY2020-21), roughly 53% were women and 24% were faculty from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Working beyond Princeton, our year-long Pathways into the Academy Program has supported 25 prospective faculty candidates since its launch in 2019
  • A range of outreach efforts, an expansion of graduate student slots, a tuition-free MEng program results in a significant rise in the diversity of our graduate students—a 24% increase in women graduate students (accounting for 35% of all newly matriculating students this fall) and a 60% increase in domestic graduate students from traditionally underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds (accounting for 11% of newly matriculating graduate students this fall).
  • Numerous programs were launched to support wellbeing and professional development of graduate students and postdocs
  • A Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee is being created and new Diversity and Inclusion website, including metrics, was launched.

Metrics

As we implement this plan, some measures of our success include:

  • Impact and growth of SEAS Research:
    • Sponsored research
    • Industrial research and partnerships
    • Large projects and centers (pillars of research excellence)
  • Recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty and graduate students
  • External faculty awards and honors
  • Diversity and inclusion metrics
  • Patent licensing and startup spinouts
  • Perception of peers and industry, rankings

A Vision for SEAS in 2030

A decade that opened with an onslaught of challenges for humanity and the planet must close with renewed health, security, equity, and opportunity for all. Princeton Engineering will be a driver of that progress. The innovation, technology, and leaders that flourish here will uplift and enable. We will target our growth for the school to better fulfill Princeton's informal motto of service to humanity in the broadest sense.

To enable this vision, by 2030, we will launch and grow four new initiatives/institutes in Bioengineering, Robotics, Data Science, and Quantum Engineering. Our departments and centers will be known worldwide for their far-reaching contributions. Our new neighborhood will inspire collaboration and support faculty and students in achieving their best work. Our Innovation Hub will be a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship across the tri-state region, and a change-maker globally. We will have grown by 30-40% to 200 faculty, 200 postdocs, and 1000 graduate students. Our faculty will work with $1.5 billion in annual sponsored research awards. The diversity of faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates will grow by 30-40%. Students will prize the mentorship and support that enable them to push the boundaries of their fields and achieve their highest visions. Our growing body of alumni will thrive and continue to lead positive change around the world.