Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Another Year of Growth for the Institute of Technology at the University of Washington Tacoma

The academic year started last Weds the 30th of September. 

I think back to when the Institute of Technology was just an idea with the starting point of 30 to 60 students enrolled in a computer science major that had the terrible name of Computer Software and Systems.  
Starting in 2015 we have 750 plus Juniors, Seniors and Graduate students in five programs and two centers for research. More programs on the horizon.
It has been an amazing journey with plenty of ups and downs along the way.

Let's give the credit where it is due. The Washington Technology Industry Association, Ed Lazowska and true leaders of Tacoma like Herb Simon and others pushed for more high demand degree programs and the UWT was the place to make it happen. 

I was happy to have served on the education committee for the WTIA (at that time the WSA) when the workforce report came out. 

The founding director of the Institute, Dr. Larry Crum, had a vision for a polytechnic with a large student body and I was lucky that he envisioned a position that would recruit someone out of industry with a strong tech business background.  It was a very different type of position that required a title change and that would allow me to not only teach but to stay involved with young companies as well. 

Governor Gary Locke signed the legislation that funded the Institute and I was pleased he announced the initiative and made the official declaration in my Managing Technical Teams class.  At that time a single engine train used to come through the middle of campus twice a week.  It felt like a single A baseball team that needs to take an outfield wall down to let the local train cross through the field.

The second director, Dr. Orlando Baiocchi, and Associate Director Dr. Larry Wear founded the Computer Engineering program, the second high tech high demand degree program that cemented the idea that the Institute wasn't just about computer science.

Dr. Sam Chung and Dr. Ankur Teredesai founded the IT program. Sam and Barbara Endicott Popovsky created the Cybersecurity Center and Ankur presides over the Center for Data Science. 

The third Director Rob Friedman championed our growth at 20 to 25 percent over the last several years. The current director Dr. Raj Katti will no doubt see an EE program take shape by 2016 or so. 

I feel like Woody Allen's great character Zelig, always appearing somewhere in the background.

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