Update from Chair Robert Harley

Featured Faculty: Robert Harley

Earlier this week we celebrated with our Class of 2016 at the College of Engineering graduation ceremonies. We heard from two excellent speakers: Jill Hruby, Director of Sandia National Laboratories, who spoke at the undergraduate ceremony in the morning, and Jim Simons, an eminent mathematician and financial guru, who spoke in the afternoon.

Jill urged graduates to remain humble and to interact with and learn from others around them, especially those with different viewpoints and skills. Jim made an impassioned plea for greater attention to crumbling civil and energy infrastructures, and decried the recent history of under-investment in addressing infrastructure needs.

In February, David Sedlak (see article) joined 21 other current and emeritus CEE faculty who are members of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). That makes seven newly elected NAE members on the Berkeley CEE faculty since 2010, which is an unparalleled run of high-level recognition! It is great to see these elections coming in many areas including transportation, structural, geotechnical, and environmental engineering.

Five new faculty members have joined CEE since 2010, including Kenichi Soga (see article) who returned to Berkeley in January after twenty years on the faculty at Cambridge. Anil Chopra (see article) will transition to emeritus status at the end of the current academic year. Anil has been at Berkeley for over fifty years, first as a graduate student and continuing on as a faculty member. We will proceed with searching for a new faculty member in structural engineering in the fall.

Another highlight for me was watching the first cohort of students in our Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) reach the finish line. In April, students presented their findings to our Advisory Council and at Cal Day to admitted freshmen and their families.

This spring I led weekly seminars with the UROP students on engineering research skills. The students’ favorite session was titled HTGABT (How to Give a Bad Talk). It was truly awful! Students told me they appreciated the personal attention and the opportunity to get to know and learn from one another.

We’d be happy to hear your news and any suggestions that you might have. We would also welcome your support for UROP, and your help as we work to upgrade classrooms and teaching labs for our students.

Go Bears!

Robert Harley
Carl W. Johnson Professor and Chair

Published 05/24/2016