College of Engineering Achievements 2013

Our achievements are built not only on skillful planning and execution, but also the momentum of the accomplishments that have come before. Here to consider are some of the momentum-building successes that we have been a part of in 2013.

  • In January, a new master of science in business analytics was launched in partnership with the Broad College of Business and the College of Natural Science.
  • In February, a new “Innovation and Creative Thinking” themed floor was dedicated in Wilson Hall, sponsored by Robert Bosch LLC. Through a contribution from the Bosch Community Fund, Bosch became a corporate partner in the Engineering Theme Partnership program, and will be involved with both the academic and co-curricular activities of the CoRe Experience for first-year engineering students.
  • February also saw the College of Engineering host the very first Spartan VEX Robotics Challenge State Championship Tournament for high school students.
  • Dean Satish Udpa was appointed MSU executive vice president for administrative services in March. I was honored to have been chosen as acting dean, and Karim Chatti was named acting associate dean for research.
  • In April, the U.S. Department of Energy renewed funding for the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) - granting the University of Wisconsin and MSU researchers $125 million to continue work on advanced biofuels. In addition, a $1.09 million grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund, plus matching funds from MSU, will enable several bio-based MSU research projects to be fast-tracked for commercial development over the next three years. With MSU’s matching funds, a total of $2.44 million will be focused on MSU biotechnology and bioprocessing innovations.
  • In a May study that evaluated some of the latest in automatic facial recognition technology, Anil Jain, University Distinguished Professor of computer science and engineering, and Josh Klontz, a research scientist in the Pattern Recognition and Image Processing lab, were able to quickly identify one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects from law enforcement video, an experiment that demonstrated the value of such technology.
  • Ground was broken for the new Bio Engineering Facility in June. This project involves a four-story research laboratory building that is designed to facilitate interdisciplinary research and interaction amongst researchers from a variety of disciplines. It will be located between the Life Science and the Clinical Center buildings in the south academic district.
  • Since July, faculty and staff in the College of Engineering have been teaming up with the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) to recruit more women to IT-related fields. MSU faculty and administrators participating in the NCWIT launch include Laura Dillon, Judy Cordes, Drew Kim, Teresa Vandersloot, Tim Grotjohn, Alex Diaz and Daina Briedis.
  • In August, the College of Engineering welcomed its largest incoming freshman class in more than a decade - a total of about 1,300 students, including 225 women. That represents a 30 percent increase of incoming female students compared to just one year ago.
  • In September, MSU received two NSF grants totaling $5.7 million to look for ways to use computer software to analyze student writing in science and engineering classes. A five-year, $5 million grant will be used in an effort led by Mark Urban-Lurain, associate director of the Center for Engineering Education Research, to develop a website where student exam answers can be analyzed. John Merrill, director of MSU’s Biological Science Program, will lead a program to assist instructors in the use of the software.
  • September also saw the Fraunhofer Center for Coatings and Laser Applications (CCL) celebrate its 10-year collaboration with MSU as a research partner.
  • In October, MSU and the Boeing Company were awarded a contract worth up to $4 million to develop new designs of sensors that will better detect cracks in the second- and third-layers in airframe structures. Professor of electrical and computer engineering Lalita Udpa leads the effort to create a next generation of sensors that will identify aircraft structure that has been weakened by subsurface cracks and corrosion.
  • Also in October, the MSU Board of Trustees announced plans to open a new value chain research institute in Midland, Mich., focusing on value chain creation and management and tackling many of today’s grand challenges in business. MSU faculty from the College of Engineering, the Broad College of Business, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the College of Social Science will be involved in the research. The institute will offer graduate studies in value chain management, as well as on-site and online non-degree courses and certificate programs.
  • In November, an investiture ceremony provided a formal welcome of Kalyanmoy Deb as the first holder of the Herman E. and Ruth J. Koenig Endowed Chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The Koenig Chair was made possible by a generous endowment established by Roger Koenig and his wife, Nancy Pierce, and provides funding in perpetuity that enables the college to attract and retain eminent scholars like Dr. Deb, and also top graduate students and an increasingly strong pool of junior faculty that will be drawn to his mentorship.
  • In December, we announced that the MSU Transportation Center on Highway Pavement Preservation was designated as a U.S. Department of Transportation Tier 1 University Transportation Center. The newly formed center, headed by Karim Chatti, will lead a national consortium whose mission is to develop new strategies for extending pavement life. It will receive $1.4 million during the first year of the program and is expected to receive similar funding levels for the next year, with funding through 2017.

As we consider our record of accomplishment this past year, I am proud to note the continued growth and success that pervades our academic, research, and outreach missions.
Pre-college Engagement:

  • Our Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) programs have produced a number of innovative hands-on curriculum that are consistent with national standards, and have been published on the National Clearinghouse for engineering curriculum. A new robotics-themed summer RET for Michigan middle- and high-school science teachers is helping refine teaching skills and discover exciting ways to teach STEM disciplines. This NSF-funded initiative, led by Xiaobo Tan, associate professor for electrical and computer engineering, and Drew Kim, assistant to the dean for Recruitment and K-12 Outreach, will train 10 to 12 teachers each year for the next three years.
  • FIRST LEGO League, VEX Robotics, a host of summer programs and outreach that specifically targeted underrepresented minorities and girls, helped to ensure a strong pool of applicants to the college. This year we served more than 3,000 middle and high school students and teachers through MSU pre-college robotics programs.
  • The Office for K-12 Outreach and Recruiting has also been engaged with two federally funded centers, the NSF-funded BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action and the new US Department of Transportation funded Center for the Highway Pavement Preservation (CHP2) led by Karim Chatti. Drew Kim will serve as Outreach director for the CHP2. The K-12 office also represented MSU's International Admissions Office for the Metro India Tour, visiting more than 30 high schools in six cities.
  • With funding from the Dart Corporation, the K-12 Office hosted more than 400 students from 20 schools and presented a STEM workshop to participating teachers at Design Day this year.

These and other efforts provide the impetus to move us forward in attracting and retaining the best and brightest students. With the largest incoming freshman class in more than 10 years (1,300), the College of Engineering is enrolling an increasingly strong stream of high-achieving students. ACT scores continue to increase, with an average of 29-30 in our most recent class, andmany students achieving scores of 33 and higher.
Supporting Diversity & Inclusion:

  • In collaboration with the Detroit Area Pre College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) the Diversity Programs Office (DPO) under the direction of Theo Caldwell, hosts the Teen Engineering Experience at Michigan State (TEEMS) for students in grades 7-11 and the Renewable Energy Advancement for Detroit Youth (READY) program for male students in grade 10.
  • MSU also participates in the NSF-supported Michigan Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (MI-LSAMP) through the DPO to significantly increase the number of under-represented minority students graduating with STEM degrees.
  • For the fourth consecutive year, our Engineering and Science Summer Academy (ESSA) received funding from the DTE Energy Foundation and the MSU Office of the Provost. This six-week residential program, initiated in 2007 by the DPO, helps ensure that at-risk students succeed within the College of Engineering.

Supporting Women in Engineering:
We are encouraged to see a jump of 30 percent in the enrollment of women in the incoming class in just a single year. Undergraduate enrollment of women in the College of Engineering has increased each year since 2009. Our goal is to grow the percentage of women among our undergraduate student population from its current 17 percent to 25 percent within five years. To achieve this goal, I recently announced the expansion of our Women in Engineering (WIE) program with Judy Cordes serving as director of WIE for Student Success, and Teresa VanderSloot as director of WIE for Recruiting and Outreach.

  • Three summer camps devoted to engaging girls in STEM fields have been developed to provide hands-on learning and an introduction to role models and careers in engineering.
  • Other outreach efforts include Women in Computing workshops for high school girls, and our new partnership with the National Center for Women and Information Technology to recruit more women to IT-related fields.
  • MSU was recognized by The College Database for being in the top five institutions in the nation for advocating for women in the STEM fields. The Top 50 offer a full suite of STEM degree programs, with a high level of female student enrollment and an impressive annual volume of female STEM graduates.

Hands-on Achievement:
Our students benefit tremendously from classroom engagement and experiential learning courtesy of our highly-engaged faculty, together with industry partners, and the exceptional efforts of our staff.

  • The CoRe Experiencewas cited as a successful Living and Learning Community in the January issue of ASEE’s PRiSM Magazine.
  • Co-op and internship opportunities are increasing as our student body grows and more employers are hiring, leading the college to hire Kyle Liechty as fulltime Co-op/internship coordinator. Director of Student Advancement Bernadette Friedrich serves our increasing population of international students through a half-time assignment as international director.
  • Our team has visited China, Iraq and multiple countries in Europe over the year to establish and coordinate contact with employers abroad.
  • With Jennifer Jennings’ expanded role, the Center has become even more engaged with industry in capstone solicitations and Design Day coordination. Employer visits and recruiting within the college continues to rise, resulting in sold-out Career Events (Engineering Expo and Career Gallery), and expanded opportunities for exposure for our partner companies.

One result of this hands-on experience is an excellent placement rate for our graduates – more than 97 percent of last year’s graduating seniors reported that they had either found career-related employment or were continuing their education (within six months of graduation). Of those, 56 percent were hired by Michigan employers, adding to Michigan’s knowledge economy.
Graduate Student Success:
Our graduate programs also continue to grow. This fall, nearly 900 graduate students were enrolled in the College of Engineering, including 297 MS and 600 PhD students, a more than 50 percent increase since 2006.

  • MSU is one of five Michigan institutions taking part in a $1.32 million NSF grant to increase the academic success of underrepresented minority graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, as well as women graduate students in gender-imbalanced fields. The Michigan Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, led by the University of Michigan in collaboration with MSU, Wayne State University, Western Michigan University and Michigan Technological University, aims to strengthen the academic identity of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows by improving their mentoring relationships and engaging them in interdisciplinary learning communities.

Research Growth:
An important measure of our growth is our ability to attract funding for groundbreaking research. Our success in attracting funding from both government and industry sources has grown exponentially in the past decade. In the most recent fiscal year, College of Engineering faculty members submitted 511 proposals, 421 were selected for award – a net of more than 80 percent! Research expenditures have exceeded $50 million each of the past three years – more than double the expenditures of 2004.
In addition to those mentioned above, major grants included:

  • A nearly $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to a team that includes Shantanu Chakrabartty, in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Rigoberto Burgueno and Nizar Lajnef, in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, for research to develop ultralow power wireless sensing systems for monitoring bridges.
  • The U.S. Energy Department has awarded $600,000 to the Composite Vehicle Research Center as part of a major initiative to improve fuel efficiency and lower transportation costs. The CRVC will demonstrate bonding, repairability and reassembly of materials using thermoplastic adhesives.
  • The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced $558,914 in funding for research on Diamond Diode and Transistor Devices, thanks to Tim Grotjohn, Tim Hogan, Jes Asmussen and the Fraunhofer Center. They seek devices capable of withstanding high-voltage electricity in high-power electronics.

Development Success:
Our support among alumni and industry continues to grow. Gift receipts and commitments in 2013 show a 54% increase over this time last year. We are also close to finalizing five $1 million+ gift commitments, and are on track to have the best fundraising year since 2004.

  • As we celebrate the dedication of the Bosch-funded “Innovation and Creative Thinking” themed floor in our CoRe Experience in Wilson Hall, we also celebrate the recommitment of both Consumers Energy and GE Transportation to another three-year sponsorship as CoRe Experience Theme partners.

The MSU College of Engineering is committed to an academic, research, and outreach agenda that spurs innovation for the technological advancement to drive the economy of Michigan, the nation and the world. As we celebrate today’s successes, we look forward to even greater achievements in the future. Together we will continue to build on our forward momentum to ensure our future success.