Jennifer Widom named dean of School of Engineering

March 2017

 

Jennifer Widom is the Fletcher Jones Professor in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. She served as Computer Science Department chair from 2009 to 2014 and senior associate dean from 2014 to 2016.

Jennifer's interest in helping the world adopt knowledge of computer science led her to create one of the first three Stanford MOOCs in the fall of 2011, a course called Introduction to Databases that continues to attract thousands of students in an online self-study version. She chose to spend her sabbatical this academic year teaching short-form courses on big data and design-thinking workshops in 15 countries around the globe, including Peru, Tanzania and Bangladesh. Jennifer will curtail her spring travel plans to assume her new role as dean.

"This is an amazing time to be taking the reins of the School of Engineering, just as the university is embarking on its own long-range planning under a new administration," Widom said. "While Persis was dean, a number of exciting initiatives were launched as a result of the SOE-Future planning process, and I'm extremely excited to see them through: the Catalyst for Collaborative Solutions, new initiatives in improving diversity at all levels, and support for our non-tenure-line educators are a few examples that I feel very passionate about."

As dean, Widom will oversee a school that enrolls about 5,300 students and has more than 240 faculty members, including 130 national and international academy and society members. All nine of the school's departments are ranked in the top five nationally. Stanford Engineering has been at the forefront of innovation for nearly a century, creating pivotal technologies that have transformed the worlds of information technology, communications, health care, energy, business and more.

Widom said that one of her primary objectives will be to further integrate the school with the rest of the university.

"It has become evident to me that there are many opportunities for the School of Engineering to become better integrated across the university," Widom said. "I've set a long-term end goal: I'd like every faculty member in the university, regardless of field, to feel fortunate that they are in a university with a top engineering school, just as engineering faculty benefit tremendously from Stanford's strengths across the whole range of disciplines."

Widom will also seek to expand opportunities for engineering undergraduates to explore a wide curriculum.

Widom is an Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. She received the ACM-W Athena Lecturer Award in 2015, the ACM SIGMOD Edgar F. Codd Innovations Award in 2007 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000.

 

Excerpted from the Stanford News. Read full article