Our resolution: our resolve

Friday, Jan. 7, 2022

Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,

Happy 2022; Happy Friday!

Our resolution: our resolve!

“What we are seeking, is seeking us.”

I must have been 8 years old when my dad asked me what I wanted to become. To help me formulate my thoughts, he followed: “If you knew for sure that you were going to achieve your goal in life, what would it be?”

I remember my response: “I want to drive a train.”

But then for years and to this day, I keep going back to the same question: What do I really want to become? What is my lifelong resolution?

You see, my father’s purpose was for me to realize that we must first envision and then create the future that we seek. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Later during my high school years, when we were studying the works of masters of classical Persian science and literature – Razi, Biruni, Avicenna, Hafez, Khayyam, Saadi, Rumi and others – the theme kept coming back: set your sights high, plan accordingly and know for a fact that the future is yours to formulate, create and achieve.

As you know, organizations, like individuals, need a sense of direction and, in today’s lingo, audacious goals. With our horizon goals set, established plans to achieve them and unrelenting effort underway, we realize that, to paraphrase Rumi, the 13th century Persian Sufi philosopher, “what we are seeking, is seeking us.” Indeed, the universe will conspire to help us achieve the future that we seek. Our role? Know what we seek and seek to achieve it!

To our faculty, staff and students, I say the world needs the ambitious, audacious you and your ambitious, audacious goals, plans and achievements.

And for all of us here at S&T, as we reflect on our 150-year history and our sesquicentennial anniversary, we consider 2022 the inaugural year for the next 150 years of our remarkable university. We have our own audacious, ambitious horizon goals that we refer to as our North Star goals: At the highest level, we are driving toward our ambitious goals in Research, Recruitment, Retention and Rankings; the four R’s of our North Star.

We are tracking our progress toward these audacious goals using 10 key indicators. Our execution priorities include:

Recruiting stellar students, faculty and leaders

Achieving preeminence requires exceptional students, faculty and leaders. We are searching for new deans for our College of Arts, Sciences, and Business; College of Engineering and Computing; and our new Kummer College of Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development. We launched all three searches in December and plan to have these new leaders on board this summer. If you know of an innovative leader who wants an exciting new challenge, or if you are such a leader yourself, I encourage you to submit your nominations or application to our executive search team at umhrexecutivesearch@umsystem.edu.

Additionally, we are recruiting 20 new endowed chairs and professors, four center directors for the four Kummer centers of excellence and multiple endowed department chairs.

Advancing advanced manufacturing

One of our most important goals is to establish the Manufacture Missouri Ecosystem (MME). Imagine manufacturers in our state connected in an ecosystem whereby they can share and exchange information and best practices, access the expertise of our researchers and those of other institutions in the state, connect with training programs, and even gain access to unique machinery and equipment they need. Missouri S&T will facilitate this effort, through establishment of a RAD (Research Asset Database) and our Missouri Protoplex, the first building of our new manufacturing technology and innovation campus. You’ll be hearing much more about RAD, the Protoplex and our innovation campus in the coming weeks. We are in the final stages of design and programming of this state-of-the-art manufacturing technology “Tech-Know” center with plans to start construction soon.

Letting our hidden gem shine

Those of us who know our campus well know that we are a hidden gem – in more ways than one. That is why work on our Arrival District is so important. Thanks to many of our alumni donors, this new arrival on the west side of our main campus will be a vibrant new entry to the university, providing a clear view into the interior of campus. Our soon-to-be-built Innovation Lab will become the go-to place for our students to express their creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial talent. Construction is underway for the Arrival District projects and we are expeditiously moving forward with a completion date of December of 2023.

Meet us in St. Louis

  1. Beth Concepcion, our vice provost for corporate and professional education, is quickly establishing a strong presence for S&T in St. Louis. She is developing new programs to bring the excellence of an S&T degree to professionals in St. Louis and beyond. Soon, we will be announcing new master’s degree programs in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering. Stay tuned for more exciting developments on that front.

Our Army of Champions

Our students are the best ambassadors for our “challenge yourself to the best STEM education” campaign to attract the brightest students to S&T. We are building an “Army of Champions” of current students who will help us in our student recruitment and retention efforts. These successful S&T students are making important connections with juniors and seniors in their home high schools – by visiting schools and contacting students individually about the S&T experience.

Igniting academic excellence

Sometimes the best big ideas begin with a spark of an idea that needs a little bit of help. Our Ignition Grant Initiative program is designed to do just that. We recently awarded 12 faculty teams with Kummer Ignition Grants to support their pursuit of long-term, externally funded and collaborative research programs. This first round of grants will fund efforts to pursue greater support from federal agencies, foundations and corporations on a broad range of research projects. Soon, we will issue a call for proposals to faculty to participate in an Excellence in Teaching Ignition Grant Program to support their efforts to develop new pedagogical approaches to learning and instruction.

By the final Friday of June, I will share a progress report on our North Star goals and will update you on where we are in “seeking what is seeking us.”



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Mohammad Dehghani, PhD
mo@mst.edu | 573-341-4116

206 Parker Hall, 300 West 13th Street, Rolla, MO 65409-0910