David Ferro

Dean, Engineering, Applied Science & Technology (EAST)
Dean, 2011 - present

Professional organizations

  • Association for computing machinery (acm) – special interest group on computer human interfaces (sigchi); special interest group on computer science educators (sigcse)

College fundraising through development

  • 2011 $428,740
  • 2012 $409,810
  • 2013 $5,447,936
  • 2014 $602,444
  • 2015 $958,189
  • 2016 $15,986,345
  • 2017 $1,874,186
  • 2018 $3,431,433
  • 2019(to date) $1,501,495

Total $30,640,575

Selected college successes since 2011


  • Created alan e. Hall center for sales excellence – 3m gift
  • Utilized hall center to hire phds for sales, raise more funding, and increase academics in sales
  • Created wadman center in construction management – 2m gift
  • Acquired ucaid consulting, brought to college, and rebranded as concept center outreach
  • Instituted wsu prep, 7-week summer program for middle school kids
  • Instituted diversity outreach: parent-daughter engineering, girls go digital, girls welding
  • Brought first tech challenge – lower cost, team-oriented, 7-12 grade robot contest - to utah
  • Became state facilitator for first lego league, first lego league jr., and first tech challenge
  • Coordinated with hafb to run, on campus, mission to mars and seaperch outreach programs International
  • Joined east to international grand challenges in engineering program
  • Created exchange relationships with metropolia university, helsinki, finland, seoul university, seoul, s. Korea, chang mai university, chang mai, thailand, pamukkele university, pamukkele, turkey


  • Hired 11 women into engineering and computer science
  • Hired 11 people of color into engineering and computer science
  • Hired four advisors to increase student retention and throughput
  • Created associate dean position, elevated allyson saunders to associate dean
  • Elevated brian rague to second associate dean
  • Began conversation about diversity in college: created diversity committee, brought anthropologist from harvey mudd, began initiatives


  • Created college-level dean’s advisory board


  • Raised funding and created peterson speaker series
  • Created annual lingofest conference for humanities, social science, and voice technology
  • Wrote (writing) monthly column for standard examiner
  • Created etc2001 – engineering culture, social science general education class


  • Removed general education category from ntm1700
  • Created center for computer literacy and micro-modules for core computer literacy (in place of ntm1700)
  • Increased online instruction in computer science (aas) and sales (aas and bs)
  • Created product design and development program from design engineering technology
  • Created web and user experience program
  • Created mechanical engineering program
  • Created manufacturing systems engineering program
  • Created ms in computer engineering (joint degree between ee and cs)
  • Created ms in electrical and computer engineering
  • Created ms in computer science
  • Collaborated with math department to create applied calculus courses
  • Tripled the number of aas (associates of applied science) degrees by hardwiring the degree on way to bs degree in engineering technology and computer science. This boosted graduation numbers for our state funding metric.
  • Attained 67% increase in student majors in college overall, 300% in ee, 147% in cs


  • Accredited through abet the electrical engineering program
  • Accredited through abet the computer science program
  • Began accreditation through abet for network systems and construction management technology


  • Created new department - construction and building sciences – combining interior design, construction management, facilities management, building science
  • Created new department – school of computing – combining computer science, network technology, web and user experience
  • Eliminated manufacturer-specific programs in automotive and replaced with single comprehensive program 
  • Taught out last few business education majors
  • Wrote strategic plans for college and all departments
  • Overhauled college website and marketing plans

Student projects

  • Oversaw the creation of over 100 student capstone projects 
  • Created numerous domestic projects. Examples at hill afb and catholic community services
  • Created numerous international projects. Examples in ghana, thailand, fiji


  • Raised lab fees to cover costs – but not enough to lose enrollments
  • Raised over 1.8m in ongoing engineering initiative funding from state (requires university match)
  • Raised over 1m in ongoing strategic workforce initiative funding from state
  • Attained almost 3m in funding from perkins
  • Increased number of internal and external grants coming into college
  • Increased ongoing budget by ~100%


  • Raised private and public funding for three building projects: new computer and automotive engineering building in davis campus, new noorda building on Ogden campus replacing 1957 technical education building, and refurbishment of engineering technology building on Ogden campus.

Historial Narrative

My experience in academic administration is extensive. As dean, I oversee the education of more than three thousand students and six hundred graduates annually. I manage diverse programs, including Electrical and Computer Engineering, Manufacturing, Construction, Interior Design, Professional Sales, and Automotive Technology. I have initiated and supported the implementation of eight new programs, including three Master’s degrees. Our new programs have increased the number of engineering students across the state, supported local industry, and allowed for many students to improve their lives.
Until last year, when the heat of the economy finally slowed us down, this college had the fastest (for years, the only) enrollment growth on campus. Key programs have grown as much as 150-300%. As dean, I have invested considerable resources into recruitment in K-12 and retention of current students. The outreach programs I found funding for are now well-known in the state. Summer PREP camp, for example, focuses on under-represented students in Junior High. I also supported an initiative in Computer Science to aid student retention by separating students in early courses based on their level of preparation. During my tenure as dean, I increased by ten-fold our available private scholarships for retention. 

The programs in my college have complex and considerable budget requirements, with the necessary purchase and maintenance of expensive equipment and materials, for which the dean is responsible. I currently manage a $14 million budget in EAST. I have increased our budget by 100+% since I became dean. In the early years of leading the college, I worked with faculty to streamline our program offerings. This allowed us to better serve student and community needs.
I have overseen successful efforts to increase our resources from both government and private donors. For examples, by the end of the last Weber State Comprehensive Campaign, our college had raised the most amount of money: $24M. My development director and I raised $15 million from the Noorda Foundation for the creation of two new buildings, now under design and construction. As dean, I am intimately involved in the design and construction process and the final arbiter for all college needs for those buildings. Two years ago, because our programs had the greatest increase in undergraduates in Engineering and Computer Science in Utah, the college received a $1.6M increase in Engineering Initiative and matching funding. My college also has led the state in Strategic Workforce Initiative funding. Just last week, EAST received notice of $2M in a joint public-private grant to improve non-traditional student instruction through apprenticeships.

As dean, I supervise over 100 people in EAST. I utilize a fairly flat hierarchy with seven departments and five centers. I have 15 direct staff reports and another seven chairs. My seven chairs and four of my direct reports have their own direct reports. I supervise over 80 faculty members who require creative employment approaches to resist the pull of high paying jobs in industry. In the last eight years, I have used the diversity among our programs to reduce redundancy between them, thereby removing silos and increasing breadth, while also saving money. 

In over eight years as dean, I have overseen more than 60 faculty through their Rank and Tenure cases. To promote faculty and staff success, I have found money for technology, teaching, scholarship, and other job-related conferences. My team has created mentorship relations and relevant resources for new faculty.
I have hired over 40 faculty and staff and am proud to have retained most of them. I have made hiring decisions with an eye to increasing diversity within the college – a slow but progressive process. The textbook I co-authored in 2005 was part of an initiative to bring more underrepresented students to Computer Science. It resulted in a three-fold increase in the number of underrepresented students in the department. As dean, I have also worked to increase diversity in our faculty.  For example, I hired six women (one woman of color) into Computer Science (which had no women faculty when I became dean) and five (one woman of color) in Engineering. Women are much more difficult to hire and retain in the technical fields. Last year, I invited an anthropologist from Harvey Mudd College – well known in engineering circles as having the most diverse undergraduate population of any engineering college - to help with the diversity process. As a result, we have ongoing initiatives to increase diversity in the college. One initiative is simply creating more college dialogue around realizing the value of diversity for recruiting and retaining more students. 

EAST collaborates with others both internally and externally to the university. Externally, the college has over 300 industry advisors. Our Concept Center has consulted with Hill AFB, Boeing, ENVE Composites, and others as well as entities on campus. Internally, we also have created study abroad community engaged learning projects with Social and Behavioral Sciences, welding camps and boot camps working with Arts & Humanities, and our Hemingway-award winning PREP summer program is a collaboration with the College of Science. I supported curriculum development between Web Development and Visual Arts as well as Math, MIS, and Computer Science. Our faculty have taught numerous classes through Continuing Education. I also led the effort to work with Math for separate Applied Calculus courses for Engineering Technology, Engineering, and Computer Science to improve student success.

High impact experiences are an integral part of our engineering education – most obviously with internships and tactile, real-world, team-oriented, and project-based learning. I supported changing the university General Education approach to computer literacy and the creation of a micro-learning modules approach through the Computer Literacy Center. I have supported award-winning faculty in the college to create projects both locally and internationally. In addition to high impact experiences, all programs have accreditation in addition to Northwest. I spearheaded Computer Science’s ABET accreditation and oversee all college-level accreditation.

EAST upholds the university’s dual-mission legacy. Almost all our programs are both Associate and Bachelor degrees. My team and I have worked with the technical colleges and high schools to create pathways and stackable credentials. I worked with Career and Technical Education to create the General Technology degree that EAST manages for the university - a degree that allows transferable credits from the tech schools. 
Dean evaluations have continually stressed that I am fair, open, rational, creative, and good at listening. I am generally very quick to respond to a request but do not rush to judgment. I champion those I supervise, and they generally rise to the challenges. Sometimes the best thing a leader can do is support and get out of the way of good ideas and people. 

A lot of my communication is through writing, which I enjoy. The monthly column I write for the Standard Examiner (37 and counting) is an exercise that has allowed me to hone my skills in communicating complex topics to a broad audience. It also works to further the university as a community partner.