The mission of the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering has always been clear. We use the tools of technology to solve real-world problems while teaching the next generation of innovators how to quickly adapt to a changing environment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges for everyone in all walks of life. Those challenges have certainly been found at the Luddy School, but it’s impossible for me to be more impressed by the resilience and the determination of our students, faculty, and staff to tackle every obstacle not like it is a burden but an opportunity.
We quickly pivoted our teaching to the virtual realm last spring when the pandemic first arrived, and our students responded by adapting their own methods and mindsets to excel. We had the opportunity to adjust further during the summer months, and by the time we welcomed our students back to campus for the fall semester, we had prepared a path that would allow our classes to be taught safely while maintaining our high levels of education.
Some classes were taught online. Some saw limited, in-person interactions between faculty and students. Regardless of how the classes were presented, our students rapidly transitioned to our new reality and made the most of their opportunity to learn. To continue to keep everyone as safe as possible, IU students moved to full-time virtual learning after Thanksgiving and into early 2021, with some classes being offered in a “winter” session, a first in Luddy history.
Again, the willingness of everyone to adapt to our reality has been inspiring, but our accomplishments at the Luddy School aren’t limited to just finding a new way to learn. Associate Professor of Informatics Mary Gray has been awarded the MacArthur grant, often referred to as the “genius grant,” becoming just the seventh recipient of the award in IU history and the first since 2003. Assistant Professor of Intelligent Systems Engineering Feng Guo was awarded a $2.3 million grant after earning the 2020 National Institutes of Health Director’s Innovator Award to advance research on autoimmune disease. Guo, along with Assistant Professor Christina Chung, were honored as the first two Luddy Faculty Fellows, and we welcomed our first cohort to the Luddy Scholars program, the premier scholarship program at the Luddy School.
These are just a few of the ways the Luddy School is continuing its leadership role through these unusual times, and we’ll continue to focus on ways to improve the lives of our community and the world in the coming days, weeks, and years. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of our school, our vision of tomorrow at the Luddy School has never been more clear, and I couldn’t be more excited for what the future will bring.