All posts by Richard Koubek

President Koubek’s Summer Letter to Families

Greetings and congratulations to our spring 2019 graduates and their families!  

With the spring semester, finals, graduation, and (hopefully) the snow behind us, I wanted to highlight a few examples of our faculty’s forward-leaning research, which includes projects such as:

  • Developing biometric clothing and artificial intelligence that will empower each of us to self-diagnose illnesses before real symptoms appear
  • Discovering techniques to diagnose the presence of cancer, as well as its type and malignancy, in less than two minutes

Yes, Michigan Tech research teams are leading the way in developing these new technologies. But our students will be the ones who decide how they get used. And we will all have to live with the consequences of their decisions.   

Complicating those decisions is the rapid and often disruptive rate of change in which we now live.

As technologies continue to advance, how might we prepare the student of today to address the needs of society at a level that machines and technology cannot?

And how might we align our programs to support the economic wellbeing of our future state?

We all know it’s a race to keep pace with the rapid evolution of technology.  Just as our students have adapted how they express their creativity and talents in new ways, we as educators must adapt and change with the times. Yes, universities have on occasion been characterized as traditionalists, but we are, at our core, about growth and opportunity. This is evidenced in our research and development agenda. It is truly part of Michigan Tech’s DNA.

In July, we will open a new College of Computing. Building on our strong foundation, the new college will help continue the University’s transformation into an academic institution that is poised to nimbly respond to—and even predict—the technological, economic, and social needs of the 21st century. The College of Computing will prepare students to be agile and adaptable in a rapidly changing job market. It will allow our faculty to collaborate on high-impact, translational research in new ways, and it will better meet industry’s insatiable demand for talent in AI, software engineering, data science, and cybersecurity. But most importantly, it will provide the next generation of graduates with the skills needed to lead the industries driving our state and national economies.  

We have also engaged in a process to expand our Pavlis Honors College experience across the entire curriculum…for all students. The curriculum cultivates critical reflection, design thinking, and interdisciplinary collaboration. This approach is critical because we realize we are no longer training students for the jobs of today—but equipping them with the skills and competencies to be successful in the rapidly changing economic environment of the future.

These are exciting times at Michigan Tech, and we thank you for your vote of confidence in our mission and future direction.    

Wishing you the happiest of summers!

Sincerely,

Rick Koubek
President


President Koubek’s Spring Letter to Families

Dear Families and Friends:

“Home for the holidays” took on new meaning for me this past holiday season. As the father of three grown children, it’s difficult to get the entire family together but this year we managed to pull it off! And, it was wonderful. I imagine many of you experienced that same joy when your Husky returned home after a long semester away.  

Several of our students and families also celebrated the joy of graduation this December. It’s always exciting to learn about their plans, be it the start of a new career or the return to school for a graduate degree. Wherever their path takes them, I know they will be well equipped for success. For those students who returned to Michigan Tech on Monday to start the spring semester, let’s congratulate them on being one step closer to achieving their goal of graduation.

Speaking of goals, the campus will address several this year regarding how we best prepare our students to succeed in the new digital economy. A common theme among the planning conversations is how the rate of change is intensifying as new technology improves the way we work, live, and interact with one another. As an institution, Michigan Tech must provide 21st century, data-capable graduates who understand how technologies and information impact the lives of people in high-skill, high-need areas and in areas as diverse but interconnected as the manufacturing and health industries.  

Over the next several months, campus leaders will develop a plan to create a new unit focused on computing. We will also work to propagate the Pavlis Honors College educational outcomes across Michigan Tech’s core curriculum. These are just two examples of how Michigan Tech is working to ensure that our students graduate not only with a singular set of skills, but also with the ability to reinvent themselves to remain relevant with the changing times.

From my perspective—this punctuates the value of higher education in our society and the role we all play as faculty, staff, students, and families in creating the future.

My best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2019.

Sincerely,

Rick Koubek
President

 


University Update from President Koubek

koubekhorz

Greetings Families: 

Whether your student is new to campus or starting their senior year, we are both excited and humbled to welcome them to the start of a new semester at Michigan Tech.  Excited for the opportunities the new semester holds and humbled because of the trust you place in the excellence of our academic reputation and the quality of our programs.

It’s a trust I take very seriously as president.  

For 133 years, Michigan Tech has delivered on its promise to provide the highest levels of technologically-oriented education for our students that help drive the nation’s economy.   And, the latest economic impact study proves that for every dollar invested from the state, Michigan Tech’s students, faculty, staff and alumni pay it back tenfold. It’s no wonder Michigan Tech is ranked as the best value in the state and in the top one percent of all colleges in the country.   

But, that’s probably not the reason your student chose Michigan Tech.  They chose Michigan Tech because they felt a sense of belonging. They wanted a challenge, they pursue success and they’re not afraid of change.

And, change is what Michigan Tech is about. We know the proliferation of technology is changing everything at an exponential rate. So, who is going to manage this change and do so in a manner that respects both our environment and our humanity? The answer is the Michigan Tech graduating classes of 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and beyond.  It’s the Michigan Tech graduates who will create future.

And, it is our responsibility to ensure that our graduates are prepared not only with a singular set of skills, but with the ability to reinvent themselves to remain relevant with the changing times.

Over the coming months, the campus community will engage in a series of conversations to discuss just how Michigan Tech will thrive in this state of constant change. Faculty will debate pedagogy that best prepares our students to grow with change. And, our researchers will define a responsive research agenda designed to meet the incipient needs of our future society.

Thank you for entrusting your students to us and participating in this very exciting journey as we create the future for Michigan Tech.  

Sincerely,

Rick Koubek
President

 


Pivot To Change

A message from President Koubek regarding the future of Michigan Tech  

At the alumni reunion this year, I heard two recurring themes as our alumni reminisced about their time spent on campus. First were the stories about particular faculty members who went the proverbial “extra mile” to help in a time of need. And there were many. Followed by stories about the special Tech traditions that built community and forged lifelong friendships. Traditions like K-Day, the Parade of Nations and Winter Carnival.  Events like hockey playoffs, football games and bocce ball tournaments. Activities like Mt. Ripley ski runs, broomball showdowns, and countless late night study sessions.

Traditions help describe who we are as an institution. A grounded, hardworking community with grit, like no other.  Therefore, when we begin talking about change, it is critical that university leaders have a deep appreciation and respect for the culture of the institution.

John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

Today, Michigan Tech finds itself at an important crossroads. We know technology is rapidly changing the way we live, work, and relate to one another. We know our world will be very different in 30 years. So, rather than reacting to these disruptive forces, why not define them?  

Over the coming months, the campus community will engage in a series of conversations to discuss how Michigan Tech will thrive in this new state of constant change. Faculty will debate pedagogy that best prepares our students to grow with change. And, our researchers will define a responsive research agenda designed to meet the incipient needs of our future society.

When we get to the other side of these conversations, we will have a plan that defines the next era of education at Michigan Tech, with lessons for higher education in general. A plan, grounded in tradition, that challenges us to break old routines and pushes us to engineer, explore, innovate and lead in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

At Michigan Tech, we will not miss the future.  We will create the future.

Tech forward.