Dean's Welcome

portrait of James D. McGuffin-CawleyNow is an incredible time to be part of the Case School of Engineering community at Case Western Reserve. From new teaching approaches to research pursuits that change lives to experiential learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom, we’ve got a momentum on campus that’s palpable.

Building on the legacy of our 137-year history, we have fostered a connected community where education, research and professional development are seamlessly interwoven.

We are hopeful that you’ve heard of Sears think[box], our innovator’s paradise open to everyone—students pursuing any degree at any level, community members, faculty and staff all come together to take advantage of this ecosystem of innovation that nurtures ideas with brainstorming and collaboration space, prototyping and fabrication equipment, and even legal and business support and incubator space. It’s far more than just a makerspace—it’s one of the world’s largest campus-based innovation centers that runs the spectrum from ideas to commerce, and plays a significant role in advancing research projects as well. So far, think[box] has helped support student, alumni and community startups achieve more than $10 million in investments. And our open-access approach and policies have been so successful that institutions around the world are using it as a model for their own spaces.

Our focus on innovation extends to the classroom. While depth and rigor of engineering fundamentals remains our foundation, we have enlivened our curriculum to reflect the future we’re helping to build. At the undergraduate level, we’ve updated our curriculum to give first-year engineering students ample opportunities to begin hands-on designing their first semester. We provide an engineering faculty mentor to each of those students on day one. For graduate study, we offer unique master's degree programs like Engineering and Management—a joint program with our business school—and specialization in areas such as Translational Health Technology, Fire Science and Wireless Health. We’ve even adapted five of our master's degrees to be available 100% online.

Our faculty—grown significantly in recent years thanks to a very successful strategic hiring initiative—are field-leading experts who are active and successful in the pursuit of competitive awards that address some of the world’s most pressing technological and societal problems. This success brings resources to support state-of-the-art labs centered around communities of scholars, with a cadre of PhD-level students working alongside visiting and post-doctoral researchers and talented undergraduate students.

That culture which centers on rigorous inquiry and discovery means that research remains a core tenet of our school. We’re advancing the burgeoning areas the Internet of Things via our new Institute for Smart, Secure and Connected Systems; and of additive manufacturing with our leadership role in America Makes; renewable and sustainable practices with our Great Lakes Energy Institute; augmented reality by partnering with the university’s Interactive Commons; and more. We’re even re-invigorating how we approach research by embracing team science and innovating our workflow with a new research strategic plan.

Our more than 20,000 alumni are a critical part of our core community. The network they create, the expert advice they offer via our alumni-based think tanks and the critical philanthropic support they provide—donating a record of more than $50 million this past year—allow us to grow and lead at the cutting edge.

I invite you to join our community of engineering innovators—the energy on our campus is contagious. Prospective undergraduate students can schedule a visit, interested graduate students and research partners can explore our latest research news and alumni and industry partners can explore the many ways we work together.


James D. McGuffin-Cawley

Interim Dean

Arthur S. Holden Jr. Professor in Engineering