April 23, 2013: The Day Cooper Charged Tuition

Joseph Colonel (EE ‘15) & Marcus Michelen (BSE’14)

At 6:05 AM on April 23rd 2013, members of the Cooper Community received a campus-notice email from Mark Epstein, Chairman of the Cooper Union Board of Trustees. The email was an invitation to an event at noon the same day, hosted by the Board of Trustees. According to the email, the event would “announce the decisions the Board reached on the future course of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.” The 61-word email closed with a requirement: “No signs or banners please.”

At the event itself, a lone podium stood before a packed Great Hall. At about ten minutes past noon, Mark Epstein walked in, and took his place behind the podium. He quietly read a written statement from the Board of Trustees: “The Board of Trustees voted last week to reduce the full-tuition scholarship to 50% for all undergraduates admitted to The Cooper Union beginning with the class entering in the fall of 2014.”

He continued for approximately 15 more minutes, finishing the written statement that was subsequently emailed to the Cooper Community at 12:23 PM. Epstein then opened the floor for questions. However, instead of receiving questions verbally, Epstein insisted on receiving questions in writing. Men and women with large index cards walked around the Great Hall offering the cards to those who wanted to ask questions.

In order for one to ask a question, he or she needed to raise his or her hand, receive an index card, write down the question and give the card back to the carriers. The carrier would then give the index card to Epstein, who would put the card into a pile of questions to answer. As Epstein attempted to answer many of the questions, he ignored duplicates and questions he deemed antagonistic, as more questions came in.

A few of the questions along with Epstein’s answers are reproduced below:

Cooper Community: “To avoid the consideration of charging tuition, how many millions of dollars would The Cooper Union need?”

Mark Epstein: “We would probably need a minimum of at least 300 to 400 million dollars.”

CC: [Question unknown]

ME: “No, you are not getting a swimming pool.”

CC: “What will stop an inflation [related] increase of the 50% [tuition].”

ME: “If you all would donate to this school, that will stop.”

CC: “This format of asking questions is insulting.”

ME: “Maybe so. Being yelled at, like the last meeting, was offensive so we’re trying to keep it civil.”

According to student Natalia Maliga, a walk-out was planned on Facebook, beginning a little after 2 PM. Beginning outside of the foundation building, the student-protestors entered 41 Cooper Square at approximately 3:30. The students walk up the Grand Staircase and stopped at the top the stairs, just outside of Frankie’s lounge, chanting “Free as air and water!”

The group of students then began screaming and banging on the floor and walls of the school, attempting to get the attention of complacent engineers scattered throughout the building. The student-protestors went up to the 8th floor, calling for a unified school the entire way.

The movement walked back down to the 4th floor and stopped in front of Frankie’s lounge, releasing another collective scream, reported to have been heard in the Rose Auditorium. The protesting continued outside of the foundation building for quite some time afterwards.

Near the end of the night, starting at 7:30 PM, a candle-light vigil with a small bonfire was held outside of the foundation building. Students of all three schools sat and stood around the fire sharing memories of their experiences at Cooper. The vigil ended when police peacefully asked the students to put out the bonfire. A student poured out the fire with sand from a fellow student’s show.

Two Takes on Today’s Events by Pioneer Staff (2)

Joseph Colonel (EE’15)

He had lived through so much to get to that day, the day he learned he had been accepted to The Cooper Union. His friends all congratulated him, his parents congratulated him, the strangers that his parents had told congratulated him. His English teacher convinced him to accept the full tuition scholarship: there was no better place to get an engineering undergraduate education in the country. The college would suit him: a college in an urban environment – the Village, no less –; a small college, with a small student to faculty ratio; a college close to home, less than an hour from his birthplace.

“And, it’s free.”

He didn’t even realize how lucky he was, he was told. His parents had really hit the lottery, he was told. Such a selective school… he must be so grateful, he was told. He would be an anomaly among his peers – he would not receive a debt totaling six figures attached to his diploma.

He sits in the Great Hall, five rows away from Mark Epstein, directly opposite the shorter than average man. The human twenty feet in front of him cannot control its presence in the Great Hall. The multitude occupying the seats of that hallowed speaking ground bore holes into Epstein’s face with their intent. Jiggling legs, nervous laughs, idle conversations that no one cares about, abnormally heavy breathing, thinking, hoping, praying, and sweating all fill the room with their cacophony. Two years of deliberations, two years of disagreements, two years of time, two years of the occasional sleepless night contemplating this miserable day…

“…Consequently, the Board of Trustees voted last week to reduce the full-tuition scholarship to 50% for all undergraduates admitted to The Cooper Union beginning with the class entering in the fall of 2014.”

It continues. No one rushes the podium. No one sets themselves on fire. No one sets off the bomb carefully attached to their chest, concealed under their clothes. Feedback eclipses Epstein’s processed, barely amplified voice. It continues to continue.

The spectators write their questions on sheets of paper that get brought up to Epstein. He flips through some, disregards others. A girl walks up to the podium and puts her question on Epstein’s podium. She taps the sheet of paper twice, then walks back to her seat. A boy places a scroll on Epstein’s podium that is promptly ignored by no one but Epstein. The spectators cheer for some questions, laugh at some answers. Emotions flare, piercing the silence Epstein tends as he reads.

He has never felt more alone in his life.

He will worry about planning his senior project. He will have experienced four years of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. A baby faced young person will be lost within the steel façade of 41 Cooper Square, searching for a classroom, or food, or an event. He will approach the young individual. The young individual will turn, and he will look into the eyes of the Class of 2018. And he will be lucky.

Two Takes on Today’s Events by Pioneer Staff (1)

Marcus Michelen (BSE’14)

As nearly every student here would say, I distinctly remember when I found out that I got accepted to Cooper. I was working on a presentation for Macroeconomics with my two closest friends and my mom called me. When she told me the news, I nearly collapsed to the floor. My friends thought that someone in my family had died. When I finally got myself together and told them what happened, they were ecstatic. They knew how much this meant to me, how I had wanted this more than anything else, how it felt like it would be the single greatest day of my life.

I never knew why I wanted to go to Cooper. In middle school, I dreamt of being an architect but, more importantly, studying at Cooper. As I got older and entered high school, I realized I wasn’t talented enough to be get into Cooper for architecture. I put any and all of my architecture dreams on hold: in order to go to the Cooper Union, I had to be an engineer. I wanted – I needed – to come here. I needed to come here.

There was a mystique, an aura surrounding the school in my mind, one I never bothered to contemplate until recently. It wasn’t exactly the free tuition that made me so enamored with the school, but nearly everything I idolized about Cooper can be seen as a direct result of the free tuition.

I’m reminded of Alexander Sokurov’s film Russian Ark. The film covers over 300 years of Russian history, yet consists of a single 96-minute long Steadicam shot. No one would ever argue that the single-shot structure of the film is what makes it so appealing, yet this superficially interesting constraint is responsible for nearly all of the charms of the film. In other words, a constraint with a superficial appeal sometimes nurtures lasting and deeper positive qualities.

For Cooper, the superficially appealing constraint was the full-tuition scholarship. It’s certainly tempting to go to school for free, but that can’t be the only reason to go to the school. The scholarship yielded many qualities that I desired, in retrospect: the school couldn’t afford too many scholarships each year, so the school remained a very small, tight-knit community; students weren’t treated as customers and, thus, were required to genuinely work and learn for their degree; the school was insanely competitive, giving Cooper an aura of exclusivity.

Cooper was the type of school that could take something that Mark Epstein would see as “icing on the cake” and transform it into the foundation of a mythic place of obscure charm and mystique. It seemed like magic to me.

Now that the school has decided to charge tuition, starting with the incoming class in fall of 2014, the world has finally seen the smoke and mirrors behind the magic trick that was Cooper Union. In the years I’ve spent at Cooper Union, I’ve grown up significantly:

During this time of my life, I started drinking coffee, I held a 40-hour a week job, I started monitoring my cholesterol, I was rejected from a job for the first time, and I had a job that I was specifically trained to do.

I came to accept that change probably won’t happen, that when someone’s neck is on the line, they will not innovate.

I had my first serious relationship, I learned to deal with failure, and I learned to treasure true success. My youthful high school ego, the one that got me into Cooper, was cut down by students far smarter than I will ever hope to be.

Perhaps most importantly, I stopped believing in magic.

Guido Interview

Marcus Michelen (BSE ‘14)

At some point in the semester, a schedule for the upcoming semester is released. We usually don’t think much of it; we figure out what classes we want to take, put them into a Google calendar or Excel Spreadsheet and hope the gods of Registration and Datatel are kind to us. Last week, I sat down with Professor Vito Guido, the man who makes the engineering schedule each semester to get insight into his process. He gave the Pioneer the following statement:

Each semester, in the Fall and in the Spring, I send an email to the seven department chairs in the engineering school. So let’s say for this particular Spring semester, for registration for the Fall: back in late January, early February I started requesting to have the information back by February 14th so I could start making the schedule, because invariably there are going to be changes made in the schedule and we would like to have them completed as soon as possible before registration.

So what do I include in that email? A request from the department chairs saying what courses are going to be offered in the fall semesters; who’s going to teach those courses; what special requirements they have. When we were in 51 Astor Place, not all the rooms were smart classrooms. Here they all are, so that’s not a problem.

If it’s an adjunct, I need to know what special hours they need, because they work in industry. So maybe they can’t be here during the day. If they teach somewhere else, they have to make sure their schedules mesh with our hours here. So those are the kinds of requirements I get from the department chairs.

Then I look at an overall master schedule, which I work on, to try to make sure that you’re not going to have any conflicts. You don’t want, say, a senior ChemE course conflicting with a graduate level ChemE course, because there may be some seniors in ChemE that want to take graduate courses. So we have to try to make sure that doesn’t happen.

It’s not always 100% foolproof.

The other thing is, in this building we have to be conscious of how many students are registering for classes because not every classroom has the same number of seats. So that’s another thing I request from the department chairs: what are their estimates of how many students should be in a class. If it’s a junior level required class, say, in EE, they’ll know more or less how many students they’ll have. If it’s an elective, they may give me a range because then, when you’re making the schedule, you also have to pair the time with an available room. On the fifth floor, 502 and 503 have 30 student limits, but 504 505 and 506 have 40 student limits. So it may be silly to put a class that may only have 12 in a room that can accommodate 40 students, and vice-versa. So that’s another thing we have to look at.

It’s like a big puzzle, putting all the pieces together. One of the major issues is Humanities. I also have to fit them into the schedule. I basically assign rooms in 41 Cooper Square. Foundation building [assignments] are under architecture [direction] and some are under art. Occasionally we switch back and forth, but I try to keep most of the engineering classes in this building, 41 Cooper Square.

It’s a thing that evolves. For the Fall Semester, it evolves over the Summer. When they assign freshmen to a section in August, things may change. An adjunct may say, “Oh, I can’t teach anymore” so we have to get a different adjunct and find if his hour mesh with where the course is already in place. So that’s why it keeps evolving.

For the math classes, basically all the freshmen and sophomores take the same classes. For math electives, professors will usually indicate to me to make sure that it fits in the EE schedule, because they have some required math courses in their curriculum. And if those spots where we put it fit in for other students to take them, then that’s it. Sometimes professor Agrawal will say to may, “well I have some students that want to take this but it conflicts, can we see if we can find another time?” We try to do that. Sometimes we’ll put it at 8 in the morning, from 8 to 10 or 8 to 9, so there’s never any conflicts because there are really no scheduled classes
at 8 o’clock.

“Culture Central” Cooper’s Culture Show 2013

Yara Elborolosy (CE ’14)

On April 6th, hundreds of students filled the great hall for the annual culture, run by the South Asian Society. Sponsored by Dean Baker, the culture show demonstrates that Cooper Students can bring more to the table than their intelligence. The emcees for the night were once again Marcello Ricottone (ChE’14), Jonathon Ostrander (ME’14), Alexa Reghenzani (Arch’15), and Sharang Phadke (EE’14), entertaining the crowd between every act. The night started off with Poco a Poco, an instrumental group that just started up this year. They broke up their act into two parts, the first part composed of tubas, trombones, and trumpets while the second part composed of the string instruments. Playing classics that most of the audience recognized made the act a great way to start the night. Next up was SAS Girl Dance, a recurring act that manages to be different every year. They danced to a mixture of contemporary upbeat Bollywood music, which made the act enjoyable to listen to and watch. Afterword, the Cooper Union Breakdance club performed with some new recruits including, for the first time in my last three years here, girls.

Professor Lepek once again awed us by playing a classic on the piano, filling the great hall with beautiful music. Ballroom dance club danced elegantly, showing off their Argentina Tango and Salsa skills. Chinese Yo-yo, an act that started off as a one-man show, evolved into an eight-person group during the culture show. This allowed for many amusing tricks, such as passing yoyos to each other. To end the first half of the talent show, SAS performed the guy’s dance, which was just as wonderful as the girl’s dance. Once again, they picked upbeat music and kept the crowd in good spirits. After a fifteen-minute intermission, the culture show started up again with the Cooper Union Gospel Choir, a singing group that just started up this year. Singing with beautiful, strong voices, Gospel Choir had the entire audience joining in, either by encouraging spectators to clap to the beat or sing along. Afterwards, CooperNova, another group that also just started up recently, entertained us with their dance moves. Dancing to songs from all over, CooperNova integrated cultures from members of their group into one great performance. Sons of Pitches, a male acapella quartet took over after CooperNova. They sang two songs, one more well known then the other, but did a wonderful job with both songs.

A new act performed by Mary Madison Mazur (CE’15) was up next, an Irish step dance called Kilkenny Races, a unique and wonderful act, showing us a great dance we may have never seen elsewhere. Coopertones came up next, our very own singing group. Celebrating their last performance with one of the senior members of the group, Coopertones sang beautifully as always. The dombra, a two stringed lute from Kazakhstan was played beautifully once more. Playing two well-known songs, Diana Yun (Art’13) filled the hall with elegant musical notes.

Chinese Student Association (CSA) performed a Chinese cultural dance, similar to the one performed last year. Their Chinese cultural dance fused ribbon and fan dance together with great light effects to create a beautiful performance. Last but certainly not least was the SAS group dance. Group dance was a very upbeat and fun performance to watch, made even more enjoyable was the reaction the audience had when President Bharucha came out during the Group Dance and joined along. Ending the night with delicious food that, Culture Show 2013 was an amazing event. The unsung steer of this year’s culture show was its integration of the three schools, across all years, into its acts.

This year was a shining example of how much better the performances will be because of it. If you missed the Culture Show, be sure to check out the videos all over Facebook.

Photo credits to William Biesiadecki (ME’14)

Faces of Cooper: Jameel Ahmad

Caroline Yu (EE ’15)

The Cooper Pioneer: Where are you originally from?

Jameel Ahmad: I was born in Pakistan but I came here when I was still in my teens.

TCP: Can you tell me about your educational and professional background?

JA: I went to the University of Hawaii first and got a Masters there and then I got a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Then, I taught at a couple of places first then came to Cooper. I’ve been here ever since!

TCP: Why did you choose civil engineering? What is your favorite field within civil engineering?

JA: Since I was born in a developing country, there was a need for water supply and infrastructure and roads. So I was attracted to that. I liked science and math – those were my favorite subjects. Engineering is a natural profession grounded in science and math. It also is an applied profession so this is the reason I went into civil engineering. And then I found out that the civil engineering field is really broad. You can do a lot of things. For example, you can work in structural engineering or you can design transportation systems or waste-disposal systems. You don’t really feel like you’re confined to one field.

I’m a structural engineer. One interesting area that appealed to me was the generation of power from flowing water – hydroelectricity. I had an interest in building dams. Lately, we don’t build dams so now we have kinetic hydro-power which means how to extract energy from flowing water. I have a patent for a new technology which I got in 2008.

The real world isn’t disciplinary. It’s quite multidisciplinary. Disciplines are the way fields are organized but not how the problems are solved. The difference is that when you get involved in a real project – it really doesn’t really go by discipline. For example, in any of the engineering projects, permitting requirements, financing issues, return investments, and ethical issues are also involved. I think not all of those we learn while we’re in school because we only have a small amount of time – four years for an undergraduate degree but it’s sort of amazing to work with very many different people. A lot of different professional people involved. As a structural engineer, I work with architects a lot. This is the nature of how design is done. You also deal with owners, contractors, labor forces, unions contracts, how to procure materials, [and] environmental issues. So, it’s a large team effort and engineers work on very large projects! This skill that one has to develop is how to network with other professionals, how to communicate, [and] how to outreach the community. Our projects have a very large impact on the community. We need to get the community involved very early on in the project.

TCP: What is your role in Cooper? What is your department’s role in Cooper?

JA: I’m a professor in the Civil Engineering department. I’m the chairman of the department also. The engineering school is basically divided into four degree departments with separate faculty in each department. There is interaction with other departments – including the school of architecture. We are trying to develop that collaboration. Next year we plan to offer a lab course which will be available to the engineers and the architects. This will basically be a course on the testing of building materials – it’ll be done in our structures and material lab in the CE department.

TCP: Do you have a favorite professor or colleague at Cooper?

JA: Well, I have a very big respect for the Cooper faculty. You have to be a good teacher and a very knowledge person to be able to teach here because our students are very gifted students and they don’t really need to be spoon fed. You realize that very early on. It’s a challenge to teach here. It’s never really dull because the students are always very mature into the field and their high level of interest and you have to keep them motivated and keep yourself motivated. I don’t one or two favorites – almost every faculty member in the engineering school know their field. In my own department, I have very experienced faculty members that have been here for decades. You can learn from them and collaborate with them. Some of the young faculty are very impressive. I see them and they are working with a different technological world. Twenty to thirty years ago we didn’t have the technology we have today. The instruction has changed a lot. The students have changed a lot! You have to keep up to date on your knowledge.

I attended a lecture just last night, which was about the tallest building world which is being designed in Saudi Arabia – Kingdom Tower. 1000 meters high. The kind of challenges they were talking about were incredible. If you interact with the faculty, you can learn a lot. If you find out what they’re doing – it always amazes me. They’re doing great things!

TCP: What are some of your hobbies?

JA: I like to travel. I also like food. I cook. I also like to read – not necessarily about engineering. I was recently in Paris and it was such an interesting experience because it has such a rich history. It has tremendous food.

TCP: What advice would you give to Cooper students?

JA: I believe that each generation meets their own challenges. Just like when I was a young engineer, I saw the challenges – the space program that was just getting underway. Even the mainframe computers weren’t invented yet! We prepared and couldn’t really seek advice. I worked for the space program as a graduate student the University of Pennsylvania. This
project was to put a man on the moon – this was started under President Kennedy. There was no blueprint to do that! We were very young and when we were working on this program they would discourage us to seek guidance from senior people. And we said, “What do you mean?!” He said because they will tell you, you can’t do it – there are so many unknowns.

My advice is to have new challenges. You should look at those challenges from the prism of your own self: “I would like to solve this problem and invent something new.” You need a lot of knowledge based on experience but that experience is based in prior history but it’s not based on the future. My hope is that students will be prepared to address those challenges that might not have addressed in a course or lecture. You have to prepare yourself for the future. I got my undergraduate degree exactly 50 years ago. The amazing thing is that I’m still working in this field. One of the things I keep in mind when I’m teaching students is that they might be active in their profession for 60-70 years! The best thing we can hope to do is to make sure students learn how to teach themselves and develop a mind set. To have confidence in your ability and to give everything their best shot. They have to build their own world – it’s a very exciting world!

TCP: Why did you choose civil engineering? What is your favorite field within civil engineering?

JA: Since I was born in a developing country, there was a need for water supply and infrastructure and roads. So I was attracted to that. I liked science and math – those were my favorite subjects. Engineering is a natural profession grounded in science and math. It also is an applied profession so this is the reason I went into civil engineering. And then I found out that the civil engineering field is really broad. You can do a lot of things. For example, you can work in structural engineering or you can design transportation systems or waste-disposal systems. You don’t really feel like you’re confined to one field.

I’m a structural engineer. One interesting area that appealed to me was the generation of power from flowing water – hydroelectricity. I had an interest in building dams. Lately, we don’t build dams so now we have kinetic hydro-power which means how to extract energy from flowing water. I have a patent for a new technology which I got in 2008.

The real world isn’t disciplinary. It’s quite multidisciplinary. Disciplines are the way fields are organized but not how the problems are solved. The difference is that when you get involved in a real project – it really doesn’t really go by discipline. For example, in any of the engineering projects, permitting requirements, financing issues, return investments, and ethical issues are also involved. I think not all of those we learn while we’re in school because we only have a small amount of time – four years for an undergraduate degree but it’s sort of amazing to work with very many different people. A lot of different professional people involved. As a structural engineer, I work with architects a lot. This is the nature of how design is done. You also deal with owners, contractors, labor forces, unions contracts, how to procure materials, [and] environmental issues. So, it’s a large team effort and engineers work on very large projects! This skill that one has to develop is how to network with other professionals, how to communicate, [and] how to outreach the community. Our projects have a very large impact on the community. We need to get the community involved very early on in the project.

TCP: What is your role in Cooper? What is your department’s role in Cooper?

JA: I’m a professor in the Civil Engineering department. I’m the chairman of the department also. The engineering school is basically divided into four degree departments with separate faculty in each department. There is interaction with other departments – including the school of architecture. We are trying to develop that collaboration. Next year we plan to offer a lab course which will be available to the engineers and the architects. This will basically be a course on the testing of building materials – it’ll be done in our structures and material lab in the CE department.

TCP: Do you have a favorite professor or colleague at Cooper?

JA: Well, I have a very big respect for the Cooper faculty. You have to be a good teacher and a very knowledge person to be able to teach here because our students are very gifted students and they don’t really need to be spoon fed. You realize that very early on. It’s a challenge to teach here. It’s never really dull because the students are always very mature into the field and their high level of interest and you have to keep them motivated and keep yourself motivated. I don’t one or two favorites – almost every faculty member in the engineering school know their field. In my own department, I have very experienced faculty members that have been here for decades. You can learn from them and collaborate with them. Some of the young faculty are very impressive. I see them and they are working with a different technological world. Twenty to thirty years ago we didn’t have the technology we have today. The instruction has changed a lot. The students have changed a lot! You have to keep up to date on your knowledge.

I attended a lecture just last night, which was about the tallest building world which is being designed in Saudi Arabia – Kingdom Tower. 1000 meters high. The kind of challenges they were talking about were incredible. If you interact with the faculty, you can learn a lot. If you find out what they’re doing – it always amazes me. They’re doing great things!

TCP: What are some of your hobbies?

JA: I like to travel. I also like food. I cook. I also like to read – not necessarily about engineering. I was recently in Paris and it was such an interesting experience because it has such a rich history. It has tremendous food.

TCP: What advice would you give to Cooper students?

JA: I believe that each generation meets their own challenges. Just like when I was a young engineer, I saw the challenges – the space program that was just getting underway. Even the mainframe computers weren’t invented yet! We prepared and couldn’t really seek advice. I worked for the space program as a graduate student the University of Pennsylvania. This
project was to put a man on the moon – this was started under President Kennedy. There was no blueprint to do that! We were very young and when we were working on this program they would discourage us to seek guidance from senior people. And we said, “What do you mean?!” He said because they will tell you, you can’t do it – there are so many unknowns.

My advice is to have new challenges. You should look at those challenges from the prism of your own self: “I would like to solve this problem and invent something new.” You need a lot of knowledge based on experience but that experience is based in prior history but it’s not based on the future. My hope is that students will be prepared to address those challenges that might not have addressed in a course or lecture. You have to prepare yourself for the future. I got my undergraduate degree exactly 50 years ago. The amazing thing is that I’m still working in this field. One of the things I keep in mind when I’m teaching students is that they might be active in their profession for 60-70 years! The best thing we can hope to do is to make sure students learn how to teach themselves and develop a mind set. To have confidence in your ability and to give everything their best shot. They have to build their own world – it’s a very exciting world!

Stock to Replace Brazinsky as ChE Chair

Marcus Michelen (BSE ‘14)

For the past couple of weeks, there have been rumors circulating that Professor Stock had replaced Professor Brazinsky as Chair of the Chemical Engineering Department. Last week, I sat down with Professor Stock to find out what happened. Reproduced below is an exerpt from what Professor Stock said during the interview:

Professor Stock: Basically there was a faculty meeting early February. I made a case for why I thought it was my time, and I was elected [chair of the Chemical Engineering Department]. Part of [the reason I wanted to run], is that I’m not planning to be one of those professors at Cooper Union who basically stays here until they drop dead.

So it would be nice to spend a couple of cycles being chair of the department before I start thinking about retiring. So that was partly my motivation and partly because I think it would be a cool thing to do.

Professor Brazinsky is still chair, and will be chair until September 1st. Quite often at Cooper, changes in chair happen when chairs retire. So, to a certain extent, I kind of consider myself pretty lucky because Professor Brazinsky isn’t retiring yet so that’s going to be very useful because there’s always someone I can talk to who knows what the deal is. He’s going to have the chance to get back to some of his teaching, which he enjoys.

I’m not expecting any earthquake type changes or anything. The departments in Cooper run a little bit differently. Each one has its own kind of character. Ours kind of runs like a committee. People have their own particular view on things.

Sometimes the meetings can be passionate, to say the least. There are things that some people want to do and others want to do differently. We always manage to thrash it out and come up with changes and improvements in what we hope is a kind of thoughtful way.