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:
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.
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:
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
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.
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:
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.
- 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:
- F wing of EQuad renovated for robotics space
- Municipal approval processes under way for new neighborhood
In order to educate and inspire tomorrow’s engineers, technologists, and leaders, we plan the following initiatives:
- 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:
- 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:
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.
As we implement this plan, some measures of our success include:
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.