Like so many other children of immigrants, Joseph Barba received a bachelor’s degree from the City College of New York that started him on a successful career in America.
In 1975, he was awarded a bachelor’s in electrical engineering. Thirty-one years later, Joe Barba was named dean of the Grove School of Engineering, the institution that educated him.
“My background at CCNY gives me a unique opportunity to know the issues faced by students, faculty and administrators,” he says. “I think that I have a fairly good sense of what it takes to achieve a balance and meet those needs.”
Before his appointment, Dean Barba had served City College and its students for nearly three decades as teacher, mentor, researcher and administrator.
Holder of master’s and doctoral degrees from City University, Joe Barba, as he’s known to everyone in the Grove School, joined the engineering faculty in 1977 and was named a a full professor in 1993. He served as associate dean for academic affairs at the engineering school and as the college’s deputy provost before being appointed acting dean of the engineering school in 2004.
Dean Barba’s research interests focus on the development of image and signal processing algorithms for biomedical applications. He has authored or co-authored over 50 scientific papers and has been principal investigator for major research and institutional grants. In addition, for more than 20 years Dr. Barba has been faculty advisor for the Latin American Engineering Student Association-Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers (LAESA-SHPE). His effort have helped CCNY become one of the leading institutions for educating Hispanic engineers in the United States. He is also director of the New York S.T.E.M. Institute, a summer enrichment program for New York City high school students interested in math, science and engineering careers.
When asked about his goals as dean, Dr. Barba cites four areas. “First,” he says, “we must increase our admissions standards while maintaining our diversity. Second, we must recruit the best faculty who will engage in interdisciplinary research across the school and the college. Third, we should develop three focused areas of research: biomedical engineering and technology, environmental engineering science and materials science. And, finally, we must address the infrastructural needs of the school. This is essential to attracting the finest students and faculty. In this area, the Grove gift is transformative.”
Dean Barba sees this as a moment of great opportunity for City College. “President Williams,” he says, “is attracting significant new resources, and he has fashioned a working team, consisting of the provost and deans, which is in sync in terms of philosophy and focused on common goals which will take us forward.”
The dean’s message for those following in his footsteps as City College students is that they are on the right track, but there is no magic bullet. “Succeeding in engineering is hard work,” he said. “Look at Andy Grove and what he has become. City College offers today’s students the same opportunity it offered him. To be successful they need to work and strive as he did.”