In the Dean's Office

Kostas Daniilidis

Russell Composto
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education

Head of undergraduate academic affairs for Penn Engineering; oversees educational programs; chairs the Undergraduate Affairs Committee.

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Jan Van der Spiegel

Zachary Ives
Associate Dean for Master's Programs

Responsible for all master's programs.

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Philosophy and Mission

More than 250 years ago, Benjamin Franklin, founder of the University of Pennsylvania, envisioned an academic institution where classical learning would be united with a sound practical education in the arts and sciences. In Ben's own words, students ought to receive everything that is practical and everything that is ornamental. Today Penn, the oldest university in the nation, is fulfilling that vision by preparing students for a technological world, a world where leadership goes to those who have learned how to combine the practical and the ornamental.


Two key elements distinguish the Penn Engineering experience from that provided by many other institutions: Exceptional academic programs, and practical design and research experience.

Our undergraduate programs emphasize both theory and practice while forming intellectual linkages across a breadth of disciplines. The opportunity for hands-on research, over the four years, allows undergraduates the opportunity to learn about the creation of knowledge and delve more deeply into their chosen field, and thereby become collaborators in the search for knowledge. The design experience over the four years and culminating in the senior design project challenges students to utilize their academic training and problem-solving skills in practical ways, and provides them with direct experience in real-world problems that they will encounter as practicing engineers.

Technology is transforming our times and our lives, no longer on a scale of decades but of years and even months. A successful career through such changing times requires engineering graduates endowed with skills that are applicable to widely different technologies, skills that transcend the details of any one job. Such is the result of an education that pays much more attention to the fundamental than to the trendy, to the creative more than to the routine. Engineers must also be firmly educated as responsible citizens, concerned with the impact of their work on society.

Penn Engineering is an integral partner in Penn's initiatives to prepare students for leadership in a high-tech world. Our goal is to prepare students for leadership roles in engineering and applied science as well as in other fields, such as medicine, business, and law, for which creativity, critical quantitative thinking, effective communication skills, and a strong commitment to humane values are essential.

Mission of the School

  1. The creation and dissemination of scholarly research in both basic and applied arenas to be an international center of engineering excellence and the regional catalyst for technological innovation;
  2. The design and delivery of engineering education known for its rigor, breadth and relevance to prepare its students to become global leaders in technology-based fields.

Mission Statements of Bachelor of Science in Engineering Programs