September message from Dean Balakrishnan

The start of the 2020-21 academic year brought with it many new things—from new students and faculty to new safety precautions and changes to the way we teach and learn. In this time of seemingly constant change, it is important to keep our Case School of Engineering community updated and informed. With that in mind, allow me to introduce you to this new, monthly communication in which I will share some of the latest news coming out of the Case School of Engineering.

This year’s incoming class of aspiring engineers may have joined us at an unprecedented time, but they are benefitting from two new and exciting opportunities to orient them to their future field. 

Over the summer, a group of incoming students had the opportunity to participate in The Human Centered Design Challenge. This four-week virtual course taught students the foundations of design thinking, such as how to ask the right questions, better identify problems,and listen actively to their peers, and gave students the tools to create a road map for their college experience.

We are also launching The Roger E. Susi First-Year Engineering Experience, which takes first year students out of the lecture hall and into a lab environment. Courses are being held in the new Roger E. Susi Laboratory, which was specially designed and constructed for this program and includes a large working space designed for hands-on activities and a spacious student lounge.

I would be remiss not to mention some of the accomplishments of our graduate and undergraduate students. Bethany Kersten, a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, is CWRU’s first recipient of a new graduate research fellowship through the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program. We recently announced three CWRU recipients of the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship, all of whom are pursuing majors or minors within CSE. Also, I hope you will take some time to read about Hunter Stecko, a double major in Electrical, Systems and Computer Engineering and Computer Science and Undergraduate Student Government president, who helped launch the Student Activities Fee COVID-19 Emergency Fund and drafted the Community Commitment to safety during the pandemic. We are immensely proud of these, and all of our students’, achievements. 

While we continue to teach and learn week-to-week with some degree of uncertainty, many things remain unchanged. CSE continues to educate the best and brightest students and expand our portfolio of innovative and groundbreaking research. Thank you for your continued support of the Case School of Engineering. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time with questions or feedback at

Venkataramanan “Ragu” Balakrishnan
Charles H. Phipps Dean, Case School of Engineering

September 21, 2020