18 days as Dean and I already have a least-favorite question. No, it’s not “Will you give me $X for Y?”, although that one is in the Top 5. Number one is “What’s your vision?”

In the best of situations, it’s difficult to answer that question for something as complex as our schools of engineering, without having people think that: a) you really don’t have a vision, b) you really don’t have a clue, or c) we better start looking for a new Dean.

It’s a tougher question for me, because, even as I’m politely trying to answer/deflect the question, I can’t help thinking that the question is irrelevant. We don’t really need there to be a MY vision, we need an OUR vision.

I’ll be sharing my thoughts in subsequent weeks. I hope that you will share yours as well, and that the discussion leads to something that most of us embrace. I’ll just say now that some of us sense that engineering schools are approaching what might be called a “recalibration point” in history; those that recognize this and recalibrate will flourish and those that don’t will likely become irrelevant. We want to be the former–right?

Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to our discussions and serving as your Dean.

–Paul Johnson

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