Meet New Dean of the School of Engineering Kyongbum Lee
Kyongbum Lee has a long history at Tufts that has shaped his perspective and love for the university. Exactly 20 years ago, he joined the Chemical and Biological Engineering department as an assistant professor. Dean Lee became the chair of the department in 2012. Prior to being named Dean of the School of Engineering and Karol Family Professor in July, he served as the dean ad interim.
Dean Lee's long tenure at Tufts has helped him to "get to know the place and appreciate the core values and culture of the institution. That's what I love about Tufts. I think that is directly relevant to my current role. It helps to know the place you're trying to lead. I feel like I know the things that are important to the students, the staff, and faculty at the School of Engineering, and that really shapes the values and culture that I identify with and that I want to continue to nurture and shape," he said.
Dean Lee described Tufts students and the culture at Tufts as collaborative, civic-minded, and entrepreneurial, with the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life and the Derby Entrepreneurship Center within the School of Engineering's Tufts Gordon Institute as prime examples. "Our students really want to be involved with and take action on the societal issues of today that they feel strongly about," he said. Additionally, "students have the courage to try something new. They like to see ideas become reality and have some sort of impact on the needs of society."
In his new role, Dean Lee is committed to Tufts' mission of being a student-centered research university. "It's a really unique and amazing opportunity for undergrad students to be able to work directly with those faculty who are leaders in their field, and nationally and internationally recognized experts," he said.
Dean Lee wants to ensure that any student who wants a mentor experience can find someone to work with. He plans to achieve this goal by recruiting more excellent faculty members from a diverse array of backgrounds and experiences who also support this vision. "Long-term, I think students should expect that professors who teach them and mentor them reflect the increasing diversity of the student body," Dean Lee said. Additionally, he wants to engage more local industry to bring different voices to campus and give students opportunities to work on real-world problems.
In addition to the faculty, Dean Lee works closely with and supports the staff in student-facing departments. As a parent of a college student and a high school student, he said, "I want to assure families that I'm doing everything I can to ensure that their students feel supported and looked after much the way I expect my son to be looked after and taken care of. I know how important it is to get a sense that the school cares how they're doing, and we absolutely do. Tufts is very committed to the wellbeing of our students."