From the Dean

Welcome to the 2014 issue of Synergy magazine! As you read it, I hope you get a sense of excitement about why many students and faculty want to come to the School of Engineering and Computer Science. The focus of this issue is on our computer science program. Our feature article is about our game development specialization within the Computer Science Department. This discipline requires a high level of programming skills, creativity, and imagination to develop the software and story lines for computer games.

For nearly 30 years, our computer science department has been the home of the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC). This competition has grown from a national to a truly international competition. Students from all continents participate in local and regional events to qualify for the finals, which this year will be in Ekaterinburg, Russia. I had the privilege of attending the 2013 finals in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was impressive to see the many countries represented in the finals. One of the home teams from St. Petersburg won the 2013 competition. Each member of the winning team was guaranteed employment with IBM!

Over the past few years, we have hired some very talented faculty. One of our recent hires in computer science is Dr. Michael Poor whose specialty is human computer interfaces. I'm sure you'll appreciate the article we have on his work in this issue.

In August, we celebrated three major milestones. First, Winston Ewert became the first student ever to be awarded a Baylor PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering during the summer graduation. The next week, Teal Residential College in the East Village area opened. Some of our faculty and staff were the first to move into new offices in this space. Teal also houses about 350 engineering and computer science students in a learning/living environment. The next time you are on campus, you should take the opportunity to visit Teal.

When students showed up in late August, we celebrated another milestone as we topped a thousand students for the first time in our history! Some of you can remember when we had only a few handfuls of students in our programs. We anticipate continued growth because we have nearly 6000 applicants for fall of 2014!

To keep up with the growing number of students, we have needed to hire more faculty. We were fortunate to add four new faculty this past year (see page 5). I believe all of these will make an impact in the classroom and the laboratory. Two (Drs. Smith and Schubert) are veteran faculty who bring significant experience with them. The other two (Drs. Raney and Koziol) both work in exciting areas and are from top tier academic institutions.

More companies are beginning to recognize the quality of our graduates. We are thankful to L-3 Platform Integration which made an investment in our programs by endowing a new scholarship last fall. More than 30 Baylor engineering and computer science graduates work at L-3. We appreciate their continuing partnership. We are also working on developing relationships with other corporations so our graduates will have ever increasing employment opportunities upon completion of their degrees.

When you come in the fall to enjoy football on campus in McLane Stadium, please stop by and visit us.

Dr. Dennis O'Neal

Dean, School of Engineering and Computer Science