Dean's Welcome Letter - Fall 2018

Dear College of Information and Computer Sciences Students,

I am pleased to welcome you to the 2018-2019 academic year at the UMass Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS). If you're a returning student, you'll find that a lot has changed, but much has stayed the same since we last saw you in May. If you're a new student, this letter will introduce you to the people and opportunities that can help make CICS your home.

So, what's new? Last spring, we hired nine new tenure-track and teaching faculty and we'll be welcoming eight faculty members, including three research faculty, this fall. They will help us keep pace with our continued growth and amplify our data science, security, and human-computer interaction research areas. We are also pleased to welcome a new graduate program manager, a new academic advisor, and two new directors of diversity.  All of the new members of our community are excited to meet you - introduce yourselves!

You'll also find that we have several new opportunities for you to network and build your programming/problem-solving skills. The new, student-run HackHer413 hackathon for women and non-binary students will take place in February 2019. For members of the Class of 2022, we also have #FreshCICS,  a series of events for new students organized by some of our sophomores.

For all that has changed since May, you'll find that we still have fantastic, approachable faculty. I hope that you'll take the time to visit them during their office hours and seek out opportunities to work with them. Our student success team, including CICS Careers, is ready to help you navigate your time here on campus and help you find your first job or internship - attend the Advising & Careers Open House on 9/7 and visit the new CICS Careers website.

Finally, CICS is still home to amazing and accomplished students, the best and the brightest from all backgrounds. Treat everyone with dignity and respect. You all belong here, and we want you all to feel welcome. Make this the year you meet someone new and different and get a "fresh" perspective. Our college and our field need everyone's ideas.  

In closing, I hope you'll take a moment to read a recent op-ed in the New York Times, "How to Get the Most Out of College." It emphasizes that finding a job isn't the only reason to attend college - creating relationships with faculty and friends is equally, if not more, important.

Once again, welcome to 2018-2019. We're thrilled to have you on campus.

Laura Haas
Dean, College of Information and Computer Sciences