Monday the Editorial Board reflected on Dean Moody-Adams' first year here. Today the Editorial Board delivers the second installment of Grading the Administrators with a look at the Dean of SEAS, Feniosky Peña-Mora.
According to the Editorial Board, Peña-Mora breathes a new life into SEAS, a school that is "pre-professional in nature [and] is sometimes overlooked or bypassed" because of its relationship with the liberal-arts based College: "When was the last time we saw a dean bounding down the stairs of Havemayer 309, arms in the air, for a photo shoot?"
Coming in, Peña-Mora had three goals: "1) finding and keeping talented faculty 2) molding students into socially responsible leaders in scientific fields and 3) developing the physical space on campus that is allotted to SEAS." The Board is confident that he is making a concerted effort to better integrate SEAS into the Columbia community by pushing for an engineering component to the Core and working closely with Barnard on dual-degree programs and engineering classes taught there.
Yet the Board is not completely satisfied. Although the Dean has been working hard to build an alumni network (evidenced by Boeing Week), SEAS students still don't have the same voice as CC students in on-campus offices and find it harder to access international opportunities. Then there's the prestige problem: "Simply put, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences does not have the same prestige as other top engineering schools," which he's trying to remedy "wholeheartedly" through SEAS 20/20.
The final verdict is mostly a congratulations: "he has raised money, put chairs in place, traveled the world, and brought prospective students to tears….Dean Pena-Mora is fiercely proud of his school…[and] his enthusiasm is starting to spread."