Florida Tech Engineering Dean Headed to First-Ever Summit

Gathering of Deans May Become Annual Event

MELBOURNE, FLA. — John Harris, dean of Florida Tech’s College of Engineering and Science, will join colleagues from across the state at the inaugural Florida Engineering Deans Summit this week in Tallahassee.

Envisioned as an annual event, the summit will allow these academic leaders to explore solutions for shared problems and develop joint initiatives.

John Harris

Harris started at Florida Tech in July 2022 after 29 years at the University of Florida, including the last 11 years as department chair. He was surprised to learn there were no regular meetings of Florida engineering deans.

“So, a few of us newer deans decided to organize an annual, rotating Florida Engineering Dean’s Summit,” Harris said. “We look forward to discussing common issues, learning from each other’s experiences, and exploring potential research collaborations to complement our programs.”

Suvranu De, dean of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, which is hosting the summit host, said the gathering will allow the deans to better understand the challenges they face.

“While we have engineering schools from across the higher ed spectrum, to some extent we all operate in similar environments and face the same challenges in developing the engineers of tomorrow,” De said.

Anchored by two roundtable discussions, both of which feature Harris, the group will explore topics including college leadership structure, support for large-scale public-private partnerships, undergraduate student success, faculty development, workforce development programs and online degree programs.

“I am excited to bring back some new ideas to Florida Tech and contribute to the advancement of the engineering field across the state,” Harris said.

De added, “We have so much potential in this state for innovation and economic impact through engineering, we believe that with this many great institutions coming together and working together, something tremendous is bound to come out of it.”

The group will also tour the engineering research labs in Tallahassee’s Innovation Park, which are closely associated with the joint college. On the itinerary is a backstage tour of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, the only national laboratory in the state of Florida funded by the National Science Foundation.

In addition to Florida Tech and FAMU-FSU, participants are:

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Florida Atlantic University, College of Engineering & Computer Science; Florida International University, College of Engineering and Computing; Florida Gulf Coast University, U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering;         Florida Polytechnic University, College of Engineering; University of Central Florida, College of Engineering & Computer Science; University of Florida, Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering; University of Miami, College of Engineering; University of North Florida, School of Engineering; and University of South Florida, College of Engineering.

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