The annual “Welcome Back Reception” was held at the President’s residence on Aug. 28. Hosted by President Shirley Ann Jackson and her husband, Professor Morris Washington, the reception was a chance for faculty—new and returning—to meet and catch up with each other. Rensselaer’s newest faculty members were introduced.

“After the summer break, it is wonderful to see old friends and a great privilege to greet the newest members of our academic community,” said President Jackson.

“All of us are challenged by complex global issues surrounding our supply of food, water, and energy; human health and the mitigation of diseases—including the deadly Ebola infection; a changing climate; a sustainable infrastructure; physical and national security; and the allocation of scarce natural resources,” she said. “What is required to address these complex challenges and new opportunities is something I have called ‘The New Polytechnic’: a new paradigm for teaching, learning, and research—a vision of the technological research university as a fresh collaborative endeavor across disciplines, sectors, and global regions. Such a university leads by using advanced technologies to unite a multiplicity of disciplines and perspectives, in order to take on large, hard, multifaceted challenges.

“We are transforming Rensselaer into this vision of The New Polytechnic, in order to become even more transformative in three fundamental ways: in the global impact of our research, in our innovative pedagogy, and in the lives of our students.

“Such soaring ambitions are reasonable, only because of the brilliance and generosity of spirit of our faculty members,” she said. “So I thank you in advance, for the great work on all three fronts that I know will occur over this academic year. And I encourage you to do a very Rensselaer-like thing: to meet, to connect, and to inspire each other to change the world.”