Engineering dean initiates laptop program, promises wireless Internet



David Saenz

It took just six weeks.

During the earliest part of his term at the University, Dr. Barry Johnson, has reorganized the college’s administration, initiated a laptop program and promised wireless Internet. He has also scheduled monthly discussion sessions with engineering students to notify them of events within the college. The first was held last Friday.

The change that will have the greatest impact on students is the planned creation of a laptop program next fall. Johnson did not comment on the specifics of the program but indicated such a program is long overdue. He said students must be exposed to laptops because they have become an industry necessity.

Johnson also expressed regret that the College of Commerce and Finance began providing student laptops before Engineering.

“The laptop program should have started here,” he said. He went on to guarantee that any new computing and technological innovations made at the University would begin in the College of Engineering.

Along these lines, Johnson announced the college will implement wireless networking inside and around all engineering buildings sometime next year. He highlighted the importance of working with other colleges in this endeavor, saying, “Commerce and Finance will probably go wireless with us or shortly thereafter.”

Johnson also detailed his reorganization of the engineering administration. He has created three new associate dean positions to complement the four existing department chairs. Dr. Edward McAssey Jr. has been named associate dean for academic affairs, and Lynda Capuzzi has been named associate dean for student affairs. According to Trish Burdo, the coordinator for student affairs, an associate dean for research has yet to be named.

Continuing the meeting’s focus on the future, Johnson indicated that the College of Engineering will soon develop a 20-year strategic plan. He explained the importance of broadening the undergraduate curriculum and implementing a study abroad program, saying, “Outside of banking, engineering is more global than any other field. English is not as universal of a language as [many] think.”

Johnson also mentioned he has discussed the possibility of combining Engineering and Commerce and Finance senior projects with Dr. Thomas Monahan, dean of Commerce and Finance. Johnson said there may be some logistical problems that would need to be solved, but such a plan would provide a good learning opportunity for students in both colleges.

Future discussions with students will be held in the Villanova Room at 12:30 p.m. on the third Friday of every month. The meetings will give students the opportunity to ask questions of and voice grievances to the dean.

Junior Deepanjan De, who attended the discussion, approved of the monthly meetings. “I like the way he keeps the communication lines open with the students,” he said.