Meet the New Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Academics
When Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan announced that Tandon’s new Associate Dean for Graduate and Undergraduate Academics would be Associate Professor Peter Voltz of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, he listed ample reason for the choice.
A valued member of the faculty for more than 30 years and an expert in the areas of wireless communication and signal processing, Voltz was tapped for his deep and continual commitment to his students — both on the old Farmingdale Long Island Campus and, when it closed in 2002, here in Brooklyn. He works closely with the NYU Hyperloop Team, serves on the MakerSpace operations committee, and (despite that busy schedule) is eager to tackle his new duties.
Read on to learn more about him in his own words.
Is there an aspect of your new post to which you're most looking forward?
I’ve been teaching and working with undergraduate and graduate students since 1985. More recently, I’ve served as the chair of the undergraduate curriculum committee for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and had the responsibility, and the pleasure, of helping shape the undergraduate curricula for the Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering programs, working with faculty from the ECE and CSE departments. In my new position, I’m very much looking forward to taking a broader view of all of our programs and working with faculty and students from all departments to help shape the educational opportunities that we provide our students here at Tandon.
I’m also looking forward to working with the people in the Graduate and Undergraduate Academic offices who work so hard to serve our students in so many ways. Already, in the few weeks since I have taken the position, I’ve been extremely impressed at how proactive they are in finding ways to make our students’ experience better, and also in making my job easier. It has been a real pleasure, and I look forward to our continued collaborations.
Are there any aspects that you anticipate will be particularly challenging?
The Dean’s office must maintain the high standards of the office while also focusing on service to students. This will sometimes require very difficult decisions to be made, balancing the need for adhering to school policies and maintaining high academic standards, with the real-life situations that students sometimes encounter. I believe this will be stressful at times, but I am looking forward to the challenge as well.
What will your priorities be in the new post?
As I mentioned above, I’m very much looking forward to taking a broader view, and working with faculty and students from all departments to help shape the educational environment here at Tandon. In particular, I’m very interested in fostering opportunities for our students to get involved in muti-year, multidisciplinary projects focusing on real-world projects that will have a positive impact on the quality of life. I will continue to direct the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program, and look forward to learning about all the other ideas being generated within the school to foster similar activities.
Was there a particular experience you had during your own student years that might influence how you approach the job?
There is no particular experience that comes to mind, but I was a student once (my degrees are from Polytechnic University, by the way), and I remember very well how important it was to feel welcomed and encouraged by the faculty and staff, as I worked my way through the very challenging Electrical Engineering Curriculum. I will always keep this in mind, as challenges arise, and will try to do whatever I can to foster an atmosphere in which our students feel that same encouragement and welcoming guidance.
Is there anything else you'd like students to know about you?
In my spare time, I enjoy reading — especially mathematics, physics, and history. My wife, Camille, and daughter, Natalie, always shake their heads when they see that I’m reading a new math or physics book for enjoyment, but they’ve mostly gotten used to it. I also try to spend as much time as possible in the outdoors with my family, especially in the fall and spring. We also enjoy the mountains and rivers in the summer and travelling to National Parks when we get the chance. A peculiar fact is that I seem to attract bears when out in the woods and have had many close encounters of the bear kind which, thankfully, have always ended in a negotiated peace.