Honoring Faculty Excellence

Sep 27 2017 | By Jesse Adams | Photos by Timothy Lee Photographers

The distinguished faculty of Columbia Engineering gathered at Carleton Lounge September 19 to officially welcome newcomers, recognize recent achievements, and toast the busy year ahead.

“It’s wonderful to have so much talent coming into the school,” said Dean Mary C. Boyce, acknowledging both SEAS’ 15 newest faculty members and that the school has just admitted its most selective and diverse undergraduate class ever. The school has also added courses, launched the Engineering for Humanity strategic vision, and moved forward in building projects—including the recently unveiled Clean Room for nanotechnology and a major renovation of the Computer Science building’s campus level.

Top faculty accomplishments this past year include the election of Julia Hirschberg, the Percy K. and Vida L. W. Hudson Professor of Computer Science, to the National Academy of Engineering for her contributions to text-to-speech and spoken dialogue systems. At Columbia, Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, the Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Medical Sciences, was appointed University Professor for her work engineering functional human tissues for use in regenerative medicine, becoming the first ever member of SEAS to receive the university’s highest academic honor.

The Department of Computer Science gained two named professors: Christos Papadimitriou, one of the founders of algorithmic game theory, joined the school as The Donovan Family Professor of Computer Science, and Jeannette Wing, former head of Microsoft Research, became the Avanessians Director of Columbia’s Data Science Institute and professor of Computer Science.

Before Associate Dean Neil McClure outlined the expansive array of awards and honors received by faculty members, Senior Executive Vice Dean Shih-Fu Chang noted those who earned promotion, received tenure, or got on tenure track. The gathering also recognized those who have published books, won election to professional societies, held scholarly leadership positions, received teaching awards, or had their work translated to industry.

“Congratulations to all our colleagues and welcome to all our new faculty,” Boyce said.

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