As our beautiful campus springs back to life and Fall semester kicks into gear, we are especially thrilled to welcome the Lehigh Engineering community back home, a new university president to our campus, and the Class of 2025 to their alma mater.

Although the threat of COVID-19 is not yet fully behind us, we are confident that existing safety measures will allow an enthusiastic return to teaching, learning, and living at Lehigh. Our community weathered adversity during a year that brought “remote learning,” “social distancing,” and “Zoombombing” into the educational lexicon. Today, as I’m delighted to report here, we are clearly thriving in the pursuit of our educational and research missions.

This issue of Rossin Connection celebrates Lehigh’s role in the recently announced National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps Hubs program—key to the NSF’s National Innovation Network, which enables the translation of fundamental research results to the marketplace through a network of universities, NSF-funded researchers, established entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial communities, and other federal agencies. Our participation will enable Lehigh researchers and interdisciplinary teams to leap forward in the formation of entrepreneurial ventures based on innovation developed in our labs.

We also celebrate the significant milestones achieved by assistant professors Roberto Palmieri (CSE), Siddha Pimputkar (MatSci), and Srinivas Rangarajan (ChBE)—the 2021 Rossin College recipients of the NSF's Faculty Early Career Development Award. The prestigious CAREER award, and its associated research funding, is national-level validation that a rising faculty member exemplifies the role of scholar–educator. They join a long and distinguished group of Rossin College CAREER recipients, including an impressive 16 over the past five years.

Across our community, we are taking action to make ours a more fair, open, and inclusive environment for living and learning. With leadership from professor and associate dean Svetlana Tatic-Lucic, our college has recently conducted a highly successful, large-scale faculty recruiting exercise. The initiative brought to Lehigh a diverse set of scholars who demonstrate commitment and leadership experience in programs that support diversity, equity, and inclusion. We also celebrate the ongoing success of the annual preLUsion program that helps incoming women engineers navigate the challenging transition from high school to college, and we commend Lehigh’s ADVANCE team for its work shedding new light on gender equity in the academic tenure and promotion process. These initiatives, and more, contributed to Lehigh’s bronze-level recognition from the American Society for Engineering Education’s Diversity Recognition Program, conferred earlier this summer. 

The latest episode of our Rossin Connection podcast features the work of Professor Jim Gilchrist and a handful of committed students in rethinking the way core principles in chemical engineering are presented and the way students are engaged in the material. The result is a fascinating new introductory level course, Coffee and Cosmetics: Engineering of Consumer Products. This course is open to all Lehigh majors, providing an opportunity for students across our campus to experience the significance of engineering and design thinking in today’s world.

Throughout the academic year, this newsletter will update you on news and events across the Rossin College. And, later this semester, keep an eye out for the release of our award-winning Resolve magazine: The Fall 2021 issue has a special focus on Lehigh’s ongoing “Soaring Together” celebration of Lehigh women and 50 years of coeducation on our campus. 

It’s going to be a great year—go Lehigh!

Warm regards,
Steve DeWeerth
Professor and Dean