Articles by Dean Grasso

Back to the Future: State of the College 2008

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This year, we also had impressive benchmarks in our faculty and administration:

These are remarkable accomplishments and I am sure I did not list them all.

And it is with this strength that we will also face challenges. An infusion of base funds from the Provost over the past several years, coupled with well-considered spending throughout our Schools and Departments, gives us a solvent College in strong financial standing today.

However, we are part of a larger community and economy and — along with every other unit on campus — we were asked earlier this summer to make a 1% rescission to our expected FY09 budget. I am pleased to say we pressed the Administration about the need for quality student services and education — and the importance of our ABET accreditation — so were able to negotiate rescissions that kept all staff and services to support students and the faculty, as well as fund all new faculty positions with reasonable startups.

Yet: Looking ahead to the FY10 budget process, I want everyone to know university finances will not get easier. Our hope is to leverage our excellent, increasing student recruitment as well as success and innovation in research productivity, continued State outreach, and new partnerships into an even more robust budget for the College next year. However, because of a 5% rescission in the State appropriation to the University, we may be facing up to a 2% rescission this coming year.

I — and all of your senior leadership in the College — will do all that we can to again ensure those budget rescissions do not affect the quality of our teaching, research, and innovation College-wide.


Turning to our core mission of educating undergraduates, we have continued accomplishments on this front as well. These include:


Research & Strategic Initiatives

Research Grant Activity

Fiscal Year Proposals Awarded $ (in millions)
2007 33 $4.1
2008 35 $5.1


As a College, we published 119 journal articles, up 17% over last year.

Graduate Students

At the graduate level, we have 143 total graduate students of which 77 are Masters students and 66 are Doctoral students.

Technology Transfer

CEMS faculty were responsible for 8 disclosures and 1 patent last year, with the ideas valuable enough for a $61,000 investment by the UVM Office of Technology Transfer. CEMS is also now served by a new technology licensing officer focused on the physical sciences.

Outreach / Public Relations


As you may know, with the hire of VP Marc Diamond, the office of Development and Alumni Relations has been re-structured. None of the Colleges or Schools will have specifically assigned development officers. The intent is that this new structure will be more efficient and provide all academic units with the potential to access gifts from donors across disciplines.

Our CEMS development metrics are very good and getting better every year:

Fiscal Year Donor Gifts
2006 $246,000
2007 $413,000
2008 $908,000

Additional Strategic Initiatives


We have completed approximately $750,000 in renovations in Votey to accommodate new research labs. I would also like to note a remarkable trend in interdisciplinary research proposals, and a growing willingness by the faculty to share research lab space. It is this approach that will help us all succeed.

CEMS is in the second tier of UVM priorities for a new building and we have already begun space discussions and planning with UVM’s plan management consultants. Initiatives surrounding fundraising for the building are the priority of our CEMS Board of Advisors Executive Committee and I’m looking forward to these discussions — and a new vision for a Science and Engineering Complex at UVM — progressing as rapidly as possible.

New Faculty Searches

Last year, you all took on the added challenge of several faculty searches. I know this stretched your time thin and I truly appreciate the effort, especially as it brought in such excellent candidates as Bomblies, Warrington, and Dunlop.

This year, we will again be searching for the very best in new faculty to serve our students, grow our College, and invest in our Spire of Excellence in complex systems research. Knowing the challenge, I have asked for additional administrative support for the searches and am working to streamline and coordinate the process, combining search teams and outreach.

Our searches this year include five in the School of Engineering:

We also will have one in Mathematics and Statistics, focused on Statistics. And one in Computer Science, specifically in Intelligent Systems.

I would like to offer my sincere thanks to those faculty members who have already consented to serve on or chair various committees. You will be instrumental in our continued quest to hire the best and brightest!

Next page: Concluding Remarks
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See also: 2007 State of the College | 2006 State of the College