Dear VSE Community:
By now, you have probably heard the exciting news that Amazon will establish a headquarters in Northern Virginia. You have probably also read the email from President Cabrera announcing some new Mason initiatives related to the effort to attract Amazon HQ2 to our area. The first is an Institute for Digital InnovAtion (IDIA), where our faculty can drive innovation in the digital economy by helping develop new digital products and services. The second is a School of Computing, which will be established to help educate the wave of new students who will be attracted to Northern Virginia in anticipation of strong employment opportunities in all computing-related fields.
Along with other colleagues, VSE has been working closely with President Cabrera, Provost Wu, and Vice President Crawford to help shape these concepts. Now, the planning will begin in earnest. Over the coming months, the university community will have ample opportunities to help develop detailed plans for these
It is important that the new School of Computing is organized in a way that will foster and encourage broad participation across the entire Mason campus. Many disciplines will play important roles in allowing new technologies to be advanced to create the next wave of economic expansion. We will need to create new organizational structures and find innovative ways to allow multidisciplinary research and education to flourish within the new school, as well as the institute. There will be numerous opportunities for everyone to provide input before any plans are finalized and approved.
I am sure that there will be many questions along the way. However, I can assure you all of two important considerations right now: VSE has been involved in shaping the initial concept and will play a collaborative role in developing the plans for these new initiatives, and none of our existing programs or departments will be separated from our core organizational structure. The trends both in the U.S. and globally have been towards convergence of computer science, IT, and data analytics with the traditional engineering fields. This is the power of the 4th Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0, or digital engineering. However it is referred to, these fields must work together closely to support industry and advance technology. The new School of Computing will allow us to work even more closely together while at the same time allowing the other units to participate fully in advancing digital technologies to create a better future for all of us.
I look forward to working with all of you to make this a huge success, both for VSE and all of Mason and our partners.
Kenneth S. Ball, Ph.D., P.E.
Dean, Volgenau School of Engineering
George Mason University
Nguyen Engineering Building
4400 University Drive, MS 4A3
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: (703) 993-1500
FAX: (703) 993-1734
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