Differential tuition and new sources of revenue were both hot-button issues at a public meeting to help determine a new dean for the College of Engineering.
Dean candidate Elliot McVeigh, who currently works at Johns Hopkins University, fielded questions from UW students and faculty. Other candidates will have a chance to do the same at a series of meetings that will take place over the next few weeks. The new dean is scheduled to begin work at the start of winter quarter.
Several audience members questioned the ways in which McVeigh would increase the financial viability of the College of Engineering and asked his opinion on differential tuition. If implemented, differential tuition would increase tuition for engineering students by $5,000 annually. McVeigh said he had mixed feelings about the issue.
“It’s a solution, but it’s just too easy of a solution,” he said. “It’s not innovative, but it could be done.”
Junior Michael Kutz, a computer science and engineering student who sits on the dean search committee, said he’s happy that McVeigh isn’t completely in favor of differential tuition. Kutz also serves as the director of university affairs for the Associated Students of the UW (ASUW) and openly opposes the policy.
“I think his answer was fantastic,” he said. “I love how he calls it too easy of a solution, because it is.”
However, Kutz did express some concern over McVeigh’s willingness to consider differential tuition.
“He’s coming off as being opposed to it,” Kutz said. “But he said he has mixed feelings, which means he could be convinced either way.”
McVeigh said that, given more funds, he would like to expand the College of Engineering, as there is a high demand for engineers in the Seattle area.
“My thought is, the college should be bigger because the region is to be the next sort-of Silicon Valley,” he said. “But we have to come up with some other mechanism to support that and make the college bigger.”
Trond Nilsen, a graduate student in industrial engineering who also sits on the search committee, said he agrees with McVeigh’s stance on differential tuition.
“I was impressed about how he answered questions,” he said. “He was very engaging.”
Other audience members questioned how McVeigh would transition from managing 700 students as the director of the biomedical engineering department at Johns Hopkins University to being dean of the College of Engineering. McVeigh said his management style should easily translate to a larger scale.
“It’s important to recognize leadership in different pockets of the enterprise,” he said. “And you really need to pay attention to getting feedback.”
Reach Amelia Dickson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ameliadickson
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