Take 5 — President Michael F. Adams on the new College of Engineering
Q: Why did you want to expand the engineering programs at UGA?
A: Most importantly, because the state needed it. Engineering drives a lot of economic development and I have long felt that, as good as Georgia Tech is, the state was underserved in the development of domestic engineers, and particularly those who would stay and practice in Georgia.
Q: How are the UGA programs different from those offered at other institutions in Georgia?
A: This will never be a technological institute like Georgia Tech, and with all due respect, we don’t want to be that. The engineering programs here, like all our academic programs, are grounded in a strong liberal arts tradition, especially in the first two years. While we want to—and will—create engineers of national and international quality, we also want to do what we’ve done in other fields, which is to attract the best young minds in the state, educate them well and encourage them to stay and make a contribution to the state that has supported them.
Q: What is the value to UGA of having a College of Engineering?
A: It broadens our portfolio. We were one of a very few land-grant institutions without a full engineering program. This will greatly enhance our research program, not only in engineering, but across a range of fields. More than 75 percent of federal research dollars go to either engineering or medicine, so we have been competing in a national arena without a full set of arrows in our quiver.
Q: How does this benefit the state of Georgia?
A: It will increasingly keep many of the best minds in Georgia, in Georgia. There are more than 2,000 Georgia students studying engineering outside the state, and we believe that many of them, given the choice, would stay home and attend the flagship university of the state. We also believe that the intellectual activity and economic development will accrue to the benefit of the state.
Q: What do you see in the future for engineering at UGA?
A: I think it will become a very significant college in the panoply of schools and colleges at UGA. It will enhance the quality of the students, the quality of the faculty, the quality of the research and the general educational climate of the place. Engineering will also aid research and development in a broad range of fields, including but not limited to computer science, biosciences, medicine and agriculture. It is a very significant development in the academic history of the University of Georgia.