J. Cole Smith Reappointed to 5-Year Term as Dean of College of Engineering and Computer Science

Vice Chancellor, Provost and Chief Academic Officer Gretchen Ritter today announced that J. Cole Smith has been reappointed to a five-year term as dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS). Today’s announcement follows a comprehensive review process that includes feedback from key stakeholders, including ECS faculty, staff and advisory board members.

“In Cole’s nearly five years as dean, the College of Engineering and Computer Science has grown stronger on multiple counts and made great strides towards reaching a new level of excellence,” Provost Ritter says. “This is an exciting time for the college, and I can think of no better leader to shepherd the students, faculty, staff and alumni into this new era.”

Smith assumed leadership of ECS in October 2019. His tenure has been marked by several high points for the college. A massive renovation, which included multiple new lab spaces and the Allyn Innovation Center, served to modernize ECS buildings and facilities. The pending new Campos Student Center, supported by a recent $2 million gift that Smith helped secure, will further enhance the college’s physical space.

Smith oversaw the development of the new Syracuse University Center for Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing, an interdisciplinary center that brings together expertise in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, manufacturing processes, optimization and robotics to advance the science of semiconductor manufacturing. He also helped launch a new master’s degree program in operations research and system analytics, as well as the signature co-op program.

Under Smith’s leadership, ECS research expenditures grew by 30% during the 2022-2023 academic year over 2019 levels. Enrollment, faculty size and staff size are also on track to grow by 50% in the next four years as part of a plan Smith developed. He also helped guide the college toward bronze-level status in the American Society for Engineering Education’s Diversity Recognition Program.

“Engineering and Computer Science is driving regional, national and international growth in areas such as advanced manufacturing, sustainable infrastructure, healthcare engineering, advanced computing technologies and materials science,” Smith says. “I have never been a part of a more exciting moment at the nexus of college, University, city and national growth. What we are doing here matters and will resonate for decades to come, and it is a true privilege to have the opportunity to realize the transformational opportunity that awaits Syracuse University and the College of Engineering and Computer Science.”

Smith came to Syracuse from Clemson University, where he held positions as associate provost for academic initiatives and chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering. His research focuses on integer programming and combinatorial optimization, network flows and facility location, computational optimization methods and large-scale optimization due to uncertainty or robustness considerations. In 2023, he was named an Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) fellow.