News Archives

Letter from the dean to our alumni and friends

April 3, 2020 - by Christos Christodoulou

Dear School of Engineering alumni and friends,

As all of you know, our world has changed significantly over the last few weeks. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The University of New Mexico and the School of Engineering have had to make some monumental and swift decisions to adapt to this rapidly-changing situation. These transitions have dramatically affected the lives of everyone in the School — faculty, staff and students. But even though these are stressful times, I’d like to report to you that these changes — while major — have been weathered successfully, and our mission remains unchanged.

Most significantly, our courses have transitioned to an online format, and this has been successfully accomplished in nearly all of our courses. Our faculty have heartily and creatively embraced this challenge, and thanks to some phenomenal IT support at UNM and in the School, technical issues have been minimal. We continue to adapt and evolve to meet student needs and ensure learning outcomes, but we are hopeful that this not only will meet our students’ needs now but will serve as a springboard to grow our online course and degree offerings in the future. This experience has shown us what is possible with online learning.

I’d also like to report to you that our student services have transitioned into a vital online resource for students. All academic advising is currently being conducted either online or via phone. And the Engineering Student Success Center, which previously conducted their services mostly in-person, has rapidly converted their services to an online format. This includes online tutoring sessions, academic success workshops, career development activities, and mentoring. We are exploring ways to make our tours interactive, and are now providing some valuable resources to educators/parents during this crisis.

And being engineers, we of course are problem-solvers, so when we heard about healthcare and emergency workers having a hard time finding enough personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer, and other medical needs, we jumped on it. We have several faculty members working on everything from 3D printing masks for medical workers to partnering with a local brewery to produce hand sanitizer. We are working carefully with hospital and governmental officials to ensure that what we produce meets current safety standards, and we are connected to the national labs, industry, and other New Mexico universities to make sure this is a well-organized and worthwhile effort for all. Stay tuned to hear more about how Lobo engineers are helping in this crisis.

Lastly, we are aware that these changes have put many populations at risk, from healthcare workers to students lacking basic needs like food and a place to live. Fortunately, UNM has responded by creating several funds to provide much-needed assistance. Please consider donating to these if you are able. If you'd prefer to direct your gift directly to the School, you can do so by contributing to the Engineering Fund for Academic Excellence. This fund is used to support our students and faculty throughout the year, and during this crisis, private support is more important than ever.

Please stay healthy and safe, and thank you for all you do for the School of Engineering!

Christos Christodoulou
Jim and Ellen King Dean of Engineering and Computing