Annual Report 2010–20111
Earlier in the year,IBM’s engineers hadrisen to a big challenge,creating Watson, anintelligent machinethat competed with(and ultimately beat)the top two human
players.Many said it was just apublicity stunt, but Iapplaud IBM’s vision.The same articial intelligence that went intoplaying the game may now be used to create smartermedical health systems and earth system simula-tions, and even teach us something about how thebrain works. As we head into a capital campaign or theUniversity, I think all o us at SEAS, and especially our alumni, are eager to get behind somethinggrand, lie-changing, and exciting. As the newest, nimblest, and—I think—the coolest place on campus, SEAS will commit to doing just that.
Investing in Our Future
We have to balance our aggressive ambitions,however, with nancial realities. As you will read inthis annual report, to maintain our momentum as thenewest “start-up” school at Harvard, we are spendingdown our reserves, or, as I like to think o it, investingin our uture. This may strike some as risky—but it isar, ar riskier not to grow to critical mass.Over the years, my predecessors built up consider-able reserves or SEAS. Moreover, our sta andaculty continue to make wise nancial decisions,building state-o the-art labs that are riendly onboth the environment and the wallet, and ndinginnovative ways to keep overall costs under control.I am pleased to report that the scal year (FY)2010–2011 actuals were better than those originally budgeted in core expenses and on a consolidatedbasis (including sponsored research, gits, andendowment income).Looking ahead to FY12, we will continue tospend down our reserves to invest in educationalprograms, grow aculty research, and enhance theteaching and administrative inrastructure.
From Seeds to Fruit
Now that I’ve been dean at SEAS or two years, I amhappy to report that many o the seeds sown in ouracademic planning process have taken root and arecoming to ruition. With our new academic structure in place, designand experiential learning are much more integratedinto the curriculum. We have boosted advising,expanded our instructional lab sta and space, and,
…Playing with Potentials…
“If you are going to do something, then do something big and incredibly, if not impossibly, challenging!”
IBM’s Vice President Bernard Meyerson said, or almost roared, that directive at a global engineering conerencehosted by Columbia University in June. My ellow Ivy League engineering deans and I discussed how,individually and collectively, we could enhance ourglobal connections—and more broadly, our impact.