- Timothy Wei
UNL College of Engineering
I begin this, my first message to all of you—alumni, donors, parents, and friends of the college—with a statement of how excited, honored and humbled I am to be part of the College of Engineering in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. This is a college that has the people, the resources and the commitment to make a transformational change for the benefit of our students and the state. I want to thank everyone for being so helpful and welcoming as my family and I have settled into our new community.
With that said, perhaps a very short introduction about me would be helpful, and then I can transition into the college’s new vision and how we’re already working to advance our mission and purpose.
To begin: I earned my Ph.D. from the University of Michigan (so I’m a fellow Big Ten alum) and my research emphasis is on fluid dynamics, which has enabled me to work on some intriguing projects, including with USA Olympic swimmers to measure flow techniques to help improve their performances.
My family and I chose Nebraska after I served for several years as professor and head of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering (as well as interim dean for a year) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. We’re settling nicely into Lincoln and have thoroughly enjoyed discovering all that the city, the state and the university have to offer.
When my announcement as the new dean was released by UNL, I made the statement: "This really is a great opportunity to work with some gifted and committed people in building a community around a vision we create that is greater than the sum of the individual parts. As we move into the Big Ten, we will collectively design and build transcendent paradigms for engineering education and research focused toward the 22nd century." I am very pleased to observe that I am feeling even more strongly about this with each passing day as I get to work more closely with staff, faculty and students across the college, as well as with a very strong and supportive community beyond the college.
As the only college of engineering in the state of Nebraska, we’re driven to build vibrant and vital programs with our imaginations and innovations already focused on the next century. After productive discussions with Chancellor Harvey Perlman, the college is ready to move ahead, paraphrasing his directive to “become a Big Ten college of engineering in fact, not just in name.” Already our faculty, staff and students are beginning conversations based on what I’ve outlined as three guiding principles and five fundamental themes. These principles and fundamentals are summarized in this magazine for your insight.
As a cohesive unit, Nebraska Engineering is priming for this challenge. In joining the Big Ten (and the Big Ten Plus Engineering Consortium), we are now in the company of most of the Top 20 engineering colleges in the country. With significant hiring, intentional focus on state-of-the-art student education, training, retention and development, and a concomitant focus on excellence in graduate education through world-class research, we are going to be a fundamentally different College of Engineering over the next five years.
On behalf of the college, then, I invite you to join us on our journey to becoming one of the top colleges of engineering in teaching and research. I look forward to hearing from and partnering with our alumni and friends. This is going to be a unique time in the life of the college and I want all of our constituent groups, both within and beyond the college, to play critical roles in this transition. It is the only way we will succeed. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to bringing the UNL College of Engineering to where it is today. And thanks in advance to all of you who will help make Nebraska Engineering as great as it will become.