The University of Texas at Dallas

Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science

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Dean’s Message

Jonsson School Mission 2021: LAUNCH

Leveraging our Attention to Undergraduate and Graduate Student Needs, Challenges and Hopes

Dr. Stephanie Adams

Dr. Stephanie G. Adams

The priority for the 2021-2022 academic year is a call for empathy to improve the educational experience of our students. For our faculty and staff, as you prepare lessons, as you teach, as you respond to emails, think about the students’ needs, what challenges they might be facing and how you can support their hopes for the future, both today as they successfully complete your assignment and tomorrow as they become engineers and computer scientists.

Think back to when you were 17 – 24 years of age and the mistakes that you made, but more importantly, of the grace people extended to you. Their positive responses allowed you to persevere and accomplish your goal, instead of giving up in discouragement. Please, I encourage us to LAUNCH and extend that same type of grace to our students.

As we prioritize students’ needs, we need to consider their mental, intellectual, emotional and physical needs. As we have seen since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, students’ mental health continues to be a major concern. Inside Higher Ed published in August an article based on data indicating that first-year students are suffering from increased levels of depression, loneliness and hopelessness. This year, our sophomores are having an in-person college experience similar to freshmen because their first was remote.

At the School level, we are focusing on students in our orientations. School leaders stressed building an environment of openness and understanding toward students at our inaugural new faculty member orientation and our graduate student teaching orientation.

Dr. Amy Walker, our associate dean for undergraduate education, and her staff kicked off Jonsson School welcome week activities to help students begin developing a sense of belonging. I don’t think I have experienced such a gathering of our students here since I joined the Jonsson School — the paletas ran out fast! I also already see students checking in with Allan Mathew, our assistant dean for graduate student enhancement. Please look for opportunities to support their activities throughout the calendar year.

Whether you teach a class, advise a student or simply notice a student who is lost trying to find a classroom, we can all participate in MISSION 2021: Leveraging our Attention to Undergraduate and Graduate Student Needs, Challenges and Hopes.

And for our students, please know that we believe in you, and we are here to help you accomplish your goals.

Stephanie G. Adams, PhD F.ASEE
Dean and Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair
Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science
The University of Texas at Dallas

For the most up-to-date news, please see the University’s official COVID‑19 information webpage.


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