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Thoughts about Chicago creating an Engineering School?


Replies to: Thoughts about Chicago creating an Engineering School?

  • gravitas2gravitas2 Registered User Posts: 1,474 Senior Member
    I'm afraid you may be right. This is why I strongly believe that President Zimmer and the board should have the honest foresight to take proactive steps that are necessary to truly make a transformative decision to found an engineering school and somehow incorporate it into the college or keep it separate with different requirements for graduation...they need to think outside the box...

    ...once again, as they did with Rockefeller in its original founding, they need to seek out today's Rockefeller, Larry Ellison to create this engineering school. If they can convince someone like Larry Ellison and knowing Ellison's ego, once he sets out to do something, he wants to make it the best...especially if it has his name on it!
  • Cue7Cue7 Registered User Posts: 2,438 Senior Member
    Eh, maybe, but I think that time has passed. It'll be very, very difficult to really cause much of a ripple in this new world of big money stem research. To truly disrupt current trends, I imagine investment in UChicago needs to be in the billions, not millions. That's how far behind UChicago is - certainly from Stanford or Harvard or MIT, and even in comparison to Cornell or Columbia or Hopkins.

    Honestly, the only feasible way to keep UChicago as a big player would be an infusion of billions of dollars. Remember, Stanford can raise $500M in 5 months. Such a donation, then, doesn't mean the creation of an Ellison school of Engineering. The donation needed would likely mean giving Ellison naming rights to the University itself.
  • gravitas2gravitas2 Registered User Posts: 1,474 Senior Member
    Not much more can be said at this time...only time will tell what destiny Chicago wants to follow...
  • Cue7Cue7 Registered User Posts: 2,438 Senior Member
    Barring some sort of game-changing decision (like Ellison donating $10B and re-naming the entire university) I think current figures provide the best projection for future trends. UChicago will remain a comparative middle weight in STEM.

    Also, I don't think UChicago "wants" to follow any destiny in particular. Rather, it is limited by geography, past decisions, etc. It's not as if it can just decide to tap into the Ellison fortune and all of a sudden compete with Stanford.
  • gravitas2gravitas2 Registered User Posts: 1,474 Senior Member
    Cue7. For what it's worth, despite this concern I have for my alma mater, I am heartened in knowing there are other thoughtful alumni that are out there who have similar concerns for the future welfare of the University...having this dialogue/conversation takes me back to Cobb Hall...
  • Cue7Cue7 Registered User Posts: 2,438 Senior Member
    Hah! I certainly agree - I really enjoyed the "what is the meaning of this university?" discussions I had back in Hyde Park. UChicago may engage in too much self-reflection, but I personally appreciated it.
  • motherbear332motherbear332 Registered User Posts: 797 Member
    I'm an academic computer scientist, and I'd describe the CS department as highly regarded, but small. In other words, what they do, they do quite well, but they only have 20 or so faculty members, so the overall impact is going to be a lot smaller than powerhouses like CMU, Berkeley, MIT, or even UIUC.

    I agree with Cue7 that they should beef it up, and doing that would be a lot cheaper and easier than creating a whole engineering school, but I don't think it is as weak as one would think based on Cue7's posts.
  • gravitas2gravitas2 Registered User Posts: 1,474 Senior Member
    Thank you for your insight motherbear332. It could be a start to really beef up the computer science department...but, the evolutionary change and development of where science and technology is taking us...Chicago can not stand idly with their heads in the sand and pretend that sticking with "pure science and math" will suffice. Going into the future Chicago researchers/scientists must be willing to adapt to the technological challenges and changes that is all around us.

    ...I fear Darwinism/evolution may eventually make Chicago obsolete in the realm of STEM...with the very important component TE (technology/engineering) missing from the acronym.
  • trapeziustrapezius Registered User Posts: 223 Junior Member
    "highly regarded, but small"
    this pretty much describes all of uchicago
  • Cue7Cue7 Registered User Posts: 2,438 Senior Member
    "highly regarded, but small"
    this pretty much describes all of uchicago "

    I actually don't think that's accurate. If you look at the major departments at UChicago (Econ, History, etc.) they have large faculties. UChicago's history department has close to 50 faculty members - almost the same size as Berkeley's history dep't.

    For costlier divisions (like in the sciences) UChicago is smaller, probably for funding reasons. The key goal, though, is having high quality research, and significant volume. Those twin pillars often lead to the "powerhouse" departments. Comp Sci is a far cry from this right now.
  • LearningLoverLearningLover Registered User Posts: 135 Junior Member
    ^ omg this omg.
  • FStratfordFStratford Registered User Posts: 416 Member
    how about incubate the parts first and then later on unite them all into a school?

    Molecular Engineering (incubated by Physics and Bio)
    CS (well just make it better, incubated in Math)
    Computer Engineering (incubated in CS and Physics)
    Industrial Engineering (clearly a stretch... Incubated by Booth, Sociology)
    Chemical Engineering (another stretch... Start off as a double major in applied Chem and Physics)

    You get the picture...

    As soon as 3 out of 4 are in the top 10, merge them into one school.
    Get a donor to name it to
  • gravitas2gravitas2 Registered User Posts: 1,474 Senior Member
    @FStratford. Great idea. Now we're thinking outside the box! I see molecular engineering already taking shape and computer science needs to be expanded and strengthened. If we can add computer engineering to computer science and extend that into electrical engineering as the CORE...then we have something. Chicago needs to touch upon those areas making the biggest impact today and in the near future for our graduates.

    Chicago can start a campaign for major donations or designated donations from alumni and friends of the university for much of these programs. I believe the decisions made by the administration today about filling this important void will preserve the University's past and greatly strengthen its standing for the future...without TE (technology/engineering) I don't know where Chicago will be 5, 10, 20 years from now...

    ...Ellison School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has a nice ring to it...
  • texaspgtexaspg Forum Champion Pre-Med & Medical Posts: 16,699 Forum Champion
    Has anyone approach Larry yet?
  • jamesbond1jamesbond1 - Posts: 232 Junior Member
    ^or the president/whoever is in charge of raising donations at UChicago?
This discussion has been closed.