Dean’s note: Next-gen engineering leaders
In just a few weeks, we will be honoring our 2021 graduates with a virtual commencement ceremony, celebrating their milestone achievement at the end of an extraordinary year. They will be embarking on their next stage in life equipped with technical knowledge and skills for which Berkeley engineers are well known — and with perspectives that have been profoundly influenced by their experiences over the past year.
The pandemic has brought to light inequities that persist in our society, as it has disproportionately impacted people of color and low-income households, while ongoing political unrest and racial violence have laid bare the pervasiveness of hate and racism in our country. The fact that technology designed and built by engineers — such as broadband communications technology and social media platforms — has played a role in each of these issues has spurred us to take action to better prepare students to become engineering leaders.
Last year, Berkeley Engineering launched its Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP) to provide a framework for engineering students to develop a broader range of competencies necessary to address society’s greatest challenges. Participants in this program develop awareness and skills for considering cultural, political, social, ethical and economic contexts for engineering solutions. To graduate as a GCSP scholar, students must demonstrate not only technical talent but also multicultural competency, multidisciplinary knowledge, entrepreneurship and social consciousness.
We aim for our graduates to become inclusive leaders who support and inspire others.
We aim for our graduates to become inclusive leaders who support and inspire others. Thanks to a generous gift from an alumnus, the college is now developing a new program to connect Berkeley Engineering students with mentors in their fields of study; to recognize outstanding mentors among our faculty, staff, students and alumni; and to promote best practices for mentorship. The new Berkeley Mentorship Cohort program will launch in the fall, with the goals of supporting student success and transforming students into effective mentors by the time they graduate.
I am inspired by the resilience and community spirit of our students, faculty and staff in weathering the unprecedented challenges of the past year, and also deeply touched by the generosity of our alumni, parents and friends whose contributions have helped to sustain — and elevate — our mission to educate leaders, create knowledge and serve society.
As we look forward to returning to campus, resuming in-person classes and meetings this fall, I am excited to apply the insights gained over the past year to innovate new programs that will empower Berkeley engineers to create a better, more equitable future for all.
Tsu-Jae King Liu
Dean and Roy W. Carlson Professor of Engineering