Committee Report on SEAS Strategy

Friday, August 27, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

I am excited to share with you the strategic vision report of the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science (SEAS). SEAS sits at the intersection of our university’s long liberal arts tradition and Yale’s burgeoning entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems in New Haven and beyond. This position represents enormous potential for impact that unites theory, research, and practice in compelling ways.  

In September of 2020, I asked the SEAS Strategic Planning Committee to craft a vision for the School that identifies its priorities and makes actionable recommendations. Chaired by Jeffrey Brock, the dean of SEAS and the Zhao and Ji Professor of Mathematics, the committee devoted great time and effort to composing this report. It incorporates feedback from faculty all around Yale, studies of peer institutions, and provides a careful assessment of how SEAS can better integrate into the fabric of the university for maximal impact.  

As you will read in the report, the committee outlines ways SEAS will develop venturous directions for strategic research that complement existing university goals and leverage Yale’s strengths toward new priorities. Identified research areas include an artificial intelligence initiative and a broad effort in materials science, as well as a deepening of Yale’s emphases in robotics, scientific modeling, and biological systems. Next, the School will focus on innovation, inclusion, and excellence, reimagining its culture so that its ideas reflect the goals of the diverse society they stand to transform. This will include new efforts to support research funding, highlighting its importance in enacting Yale’s mission. Finally, by building optimized structures for partnership and impact, SEAS will encourage true interdisciplinary collaboration across departments and schools. These structures will span entrepreneurship, industrial partnerships, new centers, faculty development, and innovative curricula that reinforce our overall strategy.

The committee found significant alignment between their recommendations and those of our University Science Strategy Committee (USSC). It would be impossible to imagine the future of our university-wide priority areas—data and computer science, quantum science, neuroscience, inflammation, and planetary solutions—without the tools and talent that SEAS will bring to them. In fact, the USSC emphasized the “vital role” engineering and applied science will play in implementing these ideas, which this report addresses in detail. 

In addition to sharing the results of the committee’s work, I write to ask for your perspectives on their recommendations. Please read the report carefully and provide feedback through this webform. We will also hold a town hall for SEAS faculty on September 17 for further discussion. Additional details about the forum are forthcoming.

Finally, I offer my thanks to Dean Brock and his fellow committee members for the time and care they devoted to this report. I look forward to hearing your views and to working with you to build our research, teaching, and innovation ecosystem at Yale.

Scott Strobel