OGDEN -- David Ferro doesn't just want to build a better computer program, electronic design, automobile, interior design or construction-management model.
Weber State University's new dean of the College of Applied Science & Technology wants to build his students into better people who possess those cutting-edge skills.
"I value general education," said Ferro, a WSU computer science professor for the past decade.
"It's citizen engineers and citizen technologists we want to train. They have to understand the context in which they work, the impact their work has and who is affected.
"It's so much bigger a picture than just fixing a problem. Good graduates help make the economy grow, and good citizens bring a fairness and kindheartedness to their work."
Ferro also has a vision for his college and how it fits into the larger world.
"As a college, we're not just interested in creating technology for its own sake; we're realizing the possibilities for people, the economy and society as a whole," he said.
"You have to understand the greater context of your work. When you do that, you can see opportunities."
Ferro considers his job as dean to be a facilitator.
"I want to facilitate excellence and get out of the way when necessary," he said. "We have excellent people here, and this is an opportunity for me to champion their work.
"A dean needs to be a visionary, looking beyond the college to see what possibilities there are. A dean also needs to be a facilitator, helping people fulfill their potential while moving the whole college in a particular direction.
"In that role, I also need to be a promoter of the college. Our college is full of potential."
The College of Applied Science & Technology includes study areas of automotive, computing, engineering, sales and interior design, teacher education and technology.
Ferro said he looks for opportunities for faculty members in different areas to partner on projects and ways for his college to partner with the local community, as well as with business, governmental and federal entities in the state, nation and world.
"I've been meeting with people here, seeing what they are up to, and meeting with our industry partners and our potential partners," he said.
Ferro recently met with officials at Williams International, a world leader in the development, manufacture and support of gas turbine engines that has facilities in Ogden and Commerce Township, Mich. He even got a rare factory tour.
"My daughter says I have the perfect job," Ferro said.
Ferro and his wife attended graduate school together at Virginia Tech and moved to Ogden when she was hired to teach sociology at Weber State.
Ferro worked at Iomega, then began teaching computer science at WSU. He went from adjunct faculty to dean in a decade.
Ferro is happy that technology is a strong and growing field.
"There are still more jobs out there in technical fields than there are graduates," he said.
"Our customers typically are the people who are going to hire our graduates, and we need to satisfy their needs for skilled, well-rounded individuals."