Santa Clara University

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From the Dean's Desk

The School of Engineering at Santa Clara University got off to a great start this year with the arrival of four new faculty members, and they have already made their presence felt.  Let me introduce you to them and then say a few words about where they are taking us.

Ed Maurer (Ph.D., University of Washington), assistant professor of civil engineering, specializes in water resources.  Before returning to school for his Ph.D., Ed ran a consulting office in Berkeley working on Western water rights issues.  He also spent several years in Peru developing clean water systems for the poor.

Rachel He (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin), assistant professor of civil engineering, joined us from Princeton University where she taught courses and conducted research in transportation systems.  Both Rachel and Ed bring expertise in geographic information systems.

Mark Aschheim (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley), associate professor of civil engineering, comes to Santa Clara with an accomplished record at the University of Illinois in seismic design and analysis.  He has engaged SCU's Center for Science, Technology, and Society to look at grass-roots technology development in the Third World.

Jorge Gonzalez (Ph.D., Georgia Tech), professor of mechanical engineering, left the chairmanship of the mechanical engineering department at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, to join Santa Clara.  A thermodynamicist, his interests span urban-scale energy issues and technology for solar air-conditioning, which he has started to commercialize.

A common thread among these four faculty is environmental engineering, especially toward the goal of sustainable systems.  Together with some of our current faculty, our new faculty are developing proposals for collaborative research in urban ecosystems and off-the-grid communities.  Numerous developing countries have little hope for the installation of sophisticated infrastructure, so infrastructure-free utilities hold special promise for them. 

What I find so exciting is the interplay between civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and systems engineering in these efforts.  One of the goals of Jesuit education is to demonstrate the interconnectedness of disciplines.  Engineering is crying out for the breaking down of the barriers between its traditional branches, which have a lot more in common with each other than they did when they were born during the Industrial Revolution.  Modern engineering, especially when applied to the real world and its societies, almost always incorporates elements of several engineering disciplines.  Demonstrating this to our students equips them for professional success and beneficial impact to others.  And is this not our main goal at Santa Clara?

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