College of Sciences and Arts Remains Very Strong

Students at a picnic table on campus

Greetings from the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech!

It is cold and rainy as classes start today, but the students’ excitement is palpable as we begin a new academic year. This is always my favorite time to be on campus, the leaves are starting to change, the freshmen are meeting new friends, the raucous sounds of the Pep Band can be heard in the distance, and no one is behind on homework yet! This semester I am teaching my first class here at Tech, with 42 students in Math 3310- Abstract Algebra. It was great to get back in the classroom after two years away, and great to have a real chalkboard!

The big news on campus is the launch of our new College of Computing. The computer science department has left CSA to join the new College, leaving us with 9 academic departments plus Air Force and Army ROTC. The “new” College of Sciences and Arts remains very strong, with our freshmen class up 17% from last year! For the first time ever, the freshmen class in CSA will be majority (52%) female! We not only welcome new students but new faculty as well, with eight new tenure-track faculty and several more teaching faculty joining the College. I look forward to sharing with you their accomplishments as the year goes by.

In our Biological Sciences Department, we are thrilled to welcome Dr. Trista Vick-Majors. Dr. Majors is best known for her work discovering microorganisms under the Antarctic ice sheet. Other projects have focused on boreal aquatic environments and alpine lakes. Her research should be a great fit for the Copper Country. Dr. Elena Giusarma joins our Physics Department as an assistant professor this Fall. She adds to our already strong astrophysics group. She describes part of her work as “building a convolutional neural network to understand the effect of massive neutrinos in the Universe.” Wow!

Our ROTC programs are thriving, with 70 cadets this Fall in Army and more than 100 in Air Force (up from 30 just a few years ago)!  I continue to enjoy meeting our successful alums. Last month I snuck in a quick trip to the Pacific Northwest, hosting alumni events in Seattle and Portland and meeting with more than a dozen of our successful alumni working at Nike, Intel, Boeing, etc….

Planning continues for our new H-STEM building. This beautiful laboratory building will be near the current Chemistry building, which will also be renovated to host our departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology, and Biomedical Engineering. Groundbreaking should be in fall 2020. The architects have made several visits to campus, and are meeting with researchers to design to meet our needs.

Critical to everything we do are our alumni and friend donors. All your donations to our departments, scholarships, and the general fund are vitally important to our success. For those interested in supporting the greatest needs of the College, we have established a “Dean’s Priority Fund”. With state support representing only about 16% of MTU’s budget, your gifts make a huge difference in the lives of our students and faculty every day. Thank you!  If you are ever back in town I hope you will stop by, say hello, and share with me your MTU story. Please do not hesitate to email me any time at djhemmer@mtu.edu to share your MTU experience or make suggestions.


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