President's Report

President's Report

President's Report

The future will require leaders with
powerful capabilities in collaboration, with
the skills to recognize and communicate
the unity underlying diversity.
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Year in Review

Year in Review

Rensselaer serves as a crossroads for collaboration — working with partners across disciplines, sectors, and geographic regions — to address complex global challenges, using the most advanced tools and technologies.

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Year in Review - Highlight Reel

July

New publication by media studies professor explores history and current significance of reality television.

2015

July

Rensselaer STEM education pipeline initiative highlighted in Nature Geoscience .

2015

August

Rensselaer receives grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the purpose of supporting the Healthy Birth, Growth, and Development initiative to understand more fully the effects of risk factors on growth outcomes and to improve worldwide child health.

2015

August

Rensselaer is ranked 12th among the “most entrepreneurial universities” for 2015 by Forbes magazine.

2015

August

Rensselaer is ranked 8th in the top undergraduate schools to study game design and animation in the U.S. by Animation Career Review.

2015

August

Mary Alice O’Brien, director of integrated administrative computing services, receives the 2015 Pillar of Rensselaer Award. The award is the highest honor Rensselaer gives to a staff member.

2015

September

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards $1.3 million to Rensselaer to support research that could give hope to the thousands of Americans who sustain life-changing spinal cord injuries each year.

2015

September

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Rensselaer agree to jointly promote adoption of high performance computing by American industry. The partners will look to bridge the gap between the levels of computing conducted at their institutions and the typical levels found in industry.

2015

October

Rensselaer and Mount Sinai team up to earn prominent role in new NIH program in environmental and children’s health.

2015

October

A team of international scientists, including researchers at Rensselaer, demonstrate the sensitivity of their detector and recorded results that challenge several dark matter models and a longstanding claim of dark matter detection.

2015

October

Rensselaer launches interdisciplinary Art_X@Rensselaer initiative, designed to help Rensselaer students discover the art in science and technology, as well as the science and technology in art.

2015

October

Center for Future Energy Systems is redesignated as part of the New York State Center for Advanced Technology (CAT) Program. The 10-year designation amounts to over $9 million in investment into Rensselaer, the Capital Region, and New York state.

2015

November

Researchers develop new layered structure for graphene that transforms high-quality 2-D graphene sheets into its 3-D form while maintaining its attractive thermal and electrical properties and mechanical strength.

2015

November

Rensselaer and IBM Research announce plans for a multi-year collaboration to pioneer new frontiers in the scientific field of cognitive and immersive systems. The research collaboration will be housed in the newly established Cognitive and Immersive Systems Lab (CISL) at Rensselaer.

2015

November

Students and alumni gather to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Rensselaer Student Union.

2015

December

Student team Amparo receives a prestigious EXIST Business Start-up Grant to help fund their invention—an inexpensive device that could make prosthetic legs readily available to amputees in developing nations.

2015

December

The U.S. Department of Energy provides $9.44 million to help refurbish and upgrade the electron linear accelerator at the Gaerttner Center at Rensselaer. Once the upgrades are complete, the Institute will be home to some of the nation’s most advanced technology for measuring neutron interactions with nuclear materials.

2015

January

In an effort to study the effects of lighting on human health and diseases, the Center for Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications Engineering Research Center installs a novel hospital inpatient lighting test bed for the study of automated lighting at the University of New Mexico Health Center.

2016

February

A two-year NSF grant supports research aimed at enhancing the utility of sensors embedded in automobiles, by creating real-time networks that allow automobiles to pool their individual information into a larger shared picture of driving conditions in the area.

2016

February

Empire State Development announces more than $1.3 million in funding to establish digital gaming hubs; Rensselaer to receive funding to support New York’s growing digital sector.

2016

March

Rensselaer receives $500,000 from the New York State Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program to help complete a $2 million network of smart sensors that are part of the Jefferson Project at Lake George.

2016

March

Four students named University Innovation Fellows; national program empowers student leaders to increase campus engagement with innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, and design thinking.

2016

April

A new method to control the activity of neurons in mice, devised by scientists at Rensselaer and Rockefeller University, uses magnetic forces to remotely control the flow of ions into specifically targeted cells. Findings suggest that a group of neurons in the hypothalamus plays a vital role in maintaining blood glucose levels, which is fundamental to human health.

2016

April

Rensselaer field hockey team is recognized as one of the top academic teams in Division III by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.

2016

May

The Burt Swersey Inventor’s Studio is established with a $500,000 gift from the Lemelson Foundation to honor and memorialize legendary teacher and mentor with state-of-the-art studio for student inventors and entrepreneurs.

2016

May

Two undergraduate teams receive top awards in Mathematical and Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling.

2016

June

President Obama announces new manufacturing hubs and Rensselaer will lead Northeast Regional Manufacturing Center.

2016

June

Researchers at Rensselaer study an ancient giant beaver fossil, housed at the New York State Museum, to find insights into how life and Earth’s environment have evolved over time.

2016
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Letter from President Shirley Ann Jackson

Letter from President Shirley Ann Jackson

We live in a time when each day brings deeper answers to questions about our world, life, and the fundamental principles of nature. We face complex global challenges, but their solutions are within our grasp, provided we dare to recognize the fundamental connections that unify us.

Unfortunately, our era is cursed with divisiveness on many levels as we deal with the epic changes driven by forces such as rapid technological change and globalization. Rhetoric and fear threaten to pull us apart even as we open up new opportunities to come together. We face both daunting divisions and new ways to build bridges between communities. It is good to recognize that we get to choose which is highlighted, and that will determine our future.

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Letter from President - part 2

At Rensselaer, we actively seek to identify, illuminate, explore, and value what unifies our physical world, our cultures, and our communities. We do this through investigating the commonalities of form, function, patterns, processes, and the heterogeneity of our world and of our society. We deliberately bring together people with different histories, points of view, and areas of expertise with the explicit goal of working together, sharing experiences, and engaging in thoughtful and respectful conversations.

Our Institute is a community where discussion and dispute are welcome, where we do not shy away from ideas that challenge us to rethink our beliefs, and where we appreciate the values, integrity, rigor, and critical thinking that form the foundation for our responsibility and pride in being part of Rensselaer.

We have articulated The New Polytechnic as an emerging paradigm for teaching, learning, and research, to reimagine and provide a focus that recognizes that global challenges and opportunities are so great that they cannot be adequately addressed by even the most talented person working alone. As The New Polytechnic, Rensselaer serves as a crossroads for collaboration—working with partners across disciplines, sectors, and geographic regions—to address complex global challenges, using the most advanced tools and technologies.

Because these solutions will affect many different individuals and communities, the most effective answers will include participation that reflects cultural differences, varying traditions, and the laws, values, and perspectives of those whose lives will change. Even when there is little dispute regarding technological approaches and the underlying science that supports these, the social dimensions need to be reflected in communications and implementation.

What looks good on paper is not good enough. Trust and respect are essential ingredients to meeting challenges in ways that are adapted to how people actually live. It is only through embracing our differences and finding deeper connections that we can make progress that minimizes conflict and optimizes benefits for all the concerned parties.

So, as we at Rensselaer seek to change the world, we need to engage with all the knowledge, skill, and intellectual rigor we can muster, but we also need to access our own humanity. We need to be as curious about other people as we are about nature. We need to appreciate the histories and traditions of different communities. We need to be authentic and invest our relationships with care and respect and recognition of the dignity of the powerless as well as the powerful.

By appreciating our differences as we recognize our unity, we can put together the technologies, policies, and laws that will engender greater equity, fairness, and true economic development. At the same time, these qualities will enable societies to enrich the lives of their citizens, as they push the limits of human knowledge and understanding. And this will be how, in the 21st century, Rensselaer will change our world for the better.

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
PRESIDENT, RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE

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Highlight Reel

Highlights

STUDENTS | FALL 2016 7,442enrolled students including:
6,200 resident undergraduates
1,090 resident graduate students
78 working professionals 
(includes Hartford)
74 nonmatriculated students
ACADEMIC PROGRAMS | FALL 2016 39programs leading to the B.S. or B.Arch. 63 programs leading to the M.S., M.Eng., M.Arch., MBA, or M.F.A. 29 programs leading to the Ph.D.

Includes new accounting concentration in the Business & Management B.S. program and new philosophy minor.

FACULTY | FALL 2016 499 total faculty members including:
453 full-time faculty (of which 342 are tenured or tenure track)
46 part-time faculty
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Accolades and Honors

Faculty Accolades and Honors

Audrey Bennett, professor of communication and media, was named the 2015 Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Scholar at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Bennett traveled to South Africa to collaborate with the University of Pretoria Department of Visual Arts Visual Technologies project, which explores critical encounters with the digital, curatorial, archival, creative, and theoretical dimensions of technology in contemporary society.  

B. Wayne Bequette, professor of chemical and biological engineering, has been named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Bequette, a modeling, design, and controls expert, was recognized for contributions to design and control of chemical and biological systems. Much of his recent work has been toward the development of a closed-loop artificial pancreas for individuals with Type 1 diabetes.

Francine Berman, the Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor in Computer Science, has been appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the National Council on the Humanities, a board of 26 distinguished individuals who advise the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Jonathan Dordick, vice president for research and the Howard P. Isermann Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, received the 2015 Food, Pharmaceutical and Bioengineering Division Award in Chemical Engineering from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. This national award recognizes an individual’s outstanding chemical engineering contributions in the food, pharmaceutical, and/or bioengineering field, which are of fundamental nature or of practical significance to industry and industrial practice.

Anna Dyson, professor of architecture and director of the Center for Architecture, Science, and Ecology, was named by Architectural Record as a winner of one of the second annual Women in Architecture Awards, celebrating architects for their contributions to the field while highlighting the increasingly visible role women play in the profession.

James Hendler, Tetherless World Professor and director of the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications (IDEA), has been appointed to the Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Committee. The committee provides scientific and technical advice to the undersecretary for science and technology on matters related to the expansion of technological capabilities across the homeland security enterprise.

Miles Kimball, professor and department head in communication and media, received the 2016 College English Association Professional Achievement Award, which recognizes an association member who has significantly contributed to teaching and scholarship at the college level.

Lee Ligon, associate professor of biological sciences, was awarded a Science & Technology Policy Fellowship through the American Association for the Advancement of Science. With the support of the 2015-16 fellowship, Ligon served for one year at the U.S. Agency for International Development in Washington, D.C. Ligon worked on international human rights policy, specifically advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex inclusive development.

Patricia Search, professor of communication and media, has been selected as an inaugural member of the Fulbright Ambassadors Program, a flagship initiative established by the Australian- American Fulbright Commission to enhance the academic and cultural exchange between the U.S. and Australia through alumni of the Fulbright Program.

Linda Schadler, vice provost and dean for undergraduate education and the Russell Sage Professor, has been elected to the Class of 2016 Materials Research Society Fellows. She was recognized for her “seminal research in the field of polymer nanocomposites and for leadership in materials education.” Schadler’s research has focused on the mechanical, electrical, and optical properties of two-phase systems, primarily polymer composites.

Michael Shur, the Patricia W. and C. Sheldon Roberts ’48 Professor of Solid State Electronics, has received an Institution of Engineering and Technology Achievement Award for pioneering contributions to deep ultraviolet light-emitting diode technology. The awards recognize individuals from around the world who have made exceptional contributions to the advancement of engineering, technology, and science.

Lirong Xia, assistant professor of computer science, has been recognized by IEEE Intelligent Systems magazine as one of “AI’s 10 to Watch.” The biennial honor celebrates scientists in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and promotes cutting-edge research among next-generation researchers, industry, and the general public. Xia’s research focuses on “social choice”—the analysis of individual preferences used to reach collective decisions or social objectives.

Suvranu De, the J. Erik Jonsson ’22 Distinguished Professor of Engineering and head of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering; Mariah Hahn, professor of biomedical engineering; Xavier Intes, associate professor of biomedical engineering; Mattheos Koffas, the Dorothy and Fred Chau ’71 Career Development Constellation Professor in Biocatalysis and Metabolic Engineering; and Assad Oberai, professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering, have all been inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). The AIMBE College of Fellows includes the top 2 percent of medical and biological engineers in the country.

Rensselaer Honors

DAVID M. DARRIN ’40 COUNSELING AWARD
Marianne Nyman, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. The income from an endowment established by the late David M. Darrin ’40 is awarded annually to a member of the faculty who has made unusual contributions in the counseling of students. Nominations are by students and the recipient is chosen by Phalanx, the student honor society.

JAMES M. TIEN ’66 EARLY CAREER AWARD FOR FACULTY
Jie Lian, associate professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering. The award honors productivity in both teaching and research, with outstanding achievement in one of these areas.

JEROME FISCHBACH ’38 FACULTY TRAVEL GRANT
Minoru Tomozawa, professor of materials science and engineering. The award recognizes contributions faculty members have made to the education and motivation of students.

WILLIAM H. WILEY 1866 DISTINGUISHED FACULTY AWARD
Shengbai Zhang, the Gail and Jeffery L. Kodosky ’70 Chair in Physics, Information Technology, and Entrepreneurship, and professor of physics, applied physics, and astronomy. Established by Edward P. Hamilton, Class of 1907, in memory of William H. Wiley, Class of 1866, the award honors those who have won the respect of the faculty through excellence in teaching, productive research, and interest in the totality of the educational process.

CLASS OF 1951 OUTSTANDING TEACHING DEVELOPMENT GRANT
Aram Chung, assistant professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering. The fellowship was established by the Class of 1951 to commend faculty members for their outstanding accomplishments in education.

RENSSELAER ALUMNI ASSOCIATION TEACHING AWARD
Eric Ledet, associate professor of biomedical engineering. The award was created to recognize current members of the Rensselaer faculty for their outstanding teaching techniques, contributions to the campus experience, and commitment to students.

TRUSTEES’ OUTSTANDING TEACHER AWARD
Ryan Gilbert, associate professor of biomedical engineering. The award was established in 1994 to recognize outstanding accomplishments in classroom instruction.

Chaired Professors

Jeffrey W. Banks has been named the Eliza Ricketts Foundation Career Development Professor of Mathematics.

Vivek Ghosal, expert in antitrust and regulatory matters, has joined Rensselaer as the Virginia and Lloyd W. Rittenhouse ’35 Teaching Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Mattheos A.G. Koffas, professor in the Howard P. Isermann Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, has been appointed the Dorothy and Fred Chau ’71 Career Development Constellation Professor.

Kevin Rose, biologist, has been named the Frederick R. Kolleck ’52 Career Development Professor.

Jacob T. Shelley, chemist, has been appointed the Alan Paul Schulz Career Development Chair in Chemistry.

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