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About

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Our Mission

The College of Engineering is committed to being known for integrating research, practice and service and fostering an environment that inspires, prepares and enables people to solve local and global challenges in a rapidly changing world. 

Our Vision

We are committed to pursuing excellence in mentoring experiences in research by nurturing a community that allows everyone to flourish, investing in faculty and student training, and preparing the next generation to be agile and team-oriented engineers who have impact and lead society.

History

In 2017, the College of Engineering under the leadership of Associate Dean Lesko, began to study the reasons for why graduate students faced challenges toward the completion of their degrees.  After several assessments, the tracking of students experiencing difficulties with their degree programs, and the collaboration with the Graduate School’s ombudsperson, two consistent themes emerged—the misalignment of expectations between graduate students and faculty advisors as well as the lack of effective communication in the research mentoring relationship.  Addressing these concerns led to a College-wide initiative and partnership with CIMER (Center for Improved Mentoring Experiences in Research) to develop a comprehensive training aimed at creating an effective mentoring culture that supports student success. Subsequently, the college invested resources to train several cohorts of faculty and college leadership to develop and facilitate efforts for entering mentoring trainings for faculty and entering research trainings for graduate students.  To date, VT COE has enlisted the services of CIMER in the training of nearly 30 other engineering faculty and college leaders.

Mentoring Programs offered by the College of Engineering

The VT Department of Engineering Education now delivers a 1-credit graduate student training program for all new engineering graduate students, empowering them to navigate the engineering research training environment. The newly offered course led by Assistant Professors Walter Lee and Jeremi London for 2019–2020 enrolled approximately 550 engineering graduate students from 13 academic programs in a series of smaller sections. For new faculty this fall, Associate Dean Jack Lesko, Director of Graduate Students, Tremayne Waller, and Associate Professor David Knight now offer a two-day Faculty Mentor Workshop during the orientation/on-boarding process.

Future Programs to be offered by the College

Plans are now underway to engage a team of exemplary mentors for a pilot program that will eventually expand to train engineering faculty throughout the entire Blacksburg campus.  This pilot is under the leadership of Associate Professor Robin Queen in collaboration with the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Engagement, Deborah Carlier, both of whom are certified facilitators and have received the CIMER research mentoring trainings, Facilitating Entering Mentoring and Facilitating Entering Research.  Focus groups for the greater Washington DC Metro Area led by Carlier and Lesko in partnership with the Graduate School’s Dean of Students, Kenneth Wong, were conducted in September of 2019. The data collected from the focus groups will serve as a foundation for several initiatives, including the expansion of a mentoring program as well as career and professional support services that will meet the unique needs of the students and faculty in the greater DC Metro Area.

The ultimate goal of the college is to establish and nurture a culture of effective mentor-mentee engagement that supports student success by equipping faculty and administrators with the skills they need to help this next generation to thrive in their chosen career paths for the purpose of Ut Prosim here and abroad.