Dear Whiting School Community,
There is no doubt we live in a time of great change. Around the globe, we are seeing major disruptions in politics, economies, industries, and educational institutions. The way people are living, interacting, working, and learning is shifting radically, and this change is certain to continue.
But with upheaval comes opportunity. As engineers, we are well-acquainted with disruption and with designing resilient systems—whether they be computer networks capable of withstanding cyberattacks, engines able to function in widely variable temperatures, or entire hospitals with the flexibility and resiliency to continue operating in the most dire situations.
In my view, our challenge is to position the Whiting School of Engineering to withstand the shocks of disruptive forces—and to flourish. As engineers, we have several factors in our favor. Our skills continue to be in demand, and it is likely that the solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems will come from the application and translation of engineering research.
With all this in mind, it seems we have several possible paths ahead. We can choose to hunker down, minimize risk, cut back, and see how well we survive the domestic and global rumblings. Or, we can get ahead of the change: diversify our activities, put resources into emerging and as yet unproven areas of inquiry, take advantage of new educational markets and models, and invest in promising translational activities. A resilient school is one that surveys the landscape, adapts, and thrives.
It is this second path that resonates with me. The American writer and moral and social philosopher Eric Hoffer (1898–1983) once stated: “In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
With counsel from our faculty, leadership team, advisory board members, and you—our trusted alumni—I look forward to Hopkins Engineering leading the change, defining the landscape, and ultimately making our community and the world a better place.
Benjamin T. Rome Dean