The engineering students who graduate in the 2020s, whether they become researchers, corporate leaders, policymakers or entrepreneurs, will be responsible for the next great waves of technological innovation. Preparing our undergraduates is an inspiring opportunity. Our goal in the classroom and the lab is not just to impart the fundamentals of engineering—the multivariable calculus, the physics, the applied probability and statistics, the topics all engineers must master—but also to teach them to analyze the power this knowledge gives them to reshape their world. We cultivate an environment in which every person’s talents and perspectives are valued and supported, so our diverse corps of students, faculty and staff can make their best contributions to society.
At the same time, we are reimagining the way we teach to emphasize problem-based, hands-on learning. This approach often requires access to new facilities, technology, equipment and tools, such as design software, 3-D printing and chip fabrication equipment and collaboration spaces. In an era when real-world challenges increasingly cross disciplines, programs such as nanomedicine, mechatronics and entrepreneurship create opportunities for students to absorb and exchange information from different fields.
Co-curricular opportunities in both classrooms and labs are designed for students to apply their knowledge. You can find our students working late into the night to prepare at Lacy Hall for the Society of Automobile Engineers Aero competition, traveling to remote villages in South Africa to test water purification filters designed by our faculty, or working on the next generation of smart home technology. In all these ways, we are preparing UVA Engineering students in the most important project of all—shaping the future for the benefit of society.