FY 2023-28

Updated: 5/2024


Research and Innovation

Creating and communicating knowledge to address real-world problems.

We pioneer scientific breakthroughs and launch innovative technologies that will solve today’s societal challenges.

Vision

We are internationally known for research and innovation in biomedical, air quality, energy systems, functional materials, robotics, imaging complex media, and quantum technologies. We publish in high-impact journals, graduate future research leaders, and serve on national advisory boards. Our department embraces entrepreneurship and celebrates the companies founded by our faculty, students, and alumni.

In the next five years, we will:

  • Be a department with a global footprint that is known for its contributions towards improving human health, enabling security, and promoting sustainability
  • Be a department known for its connections to industry and national labs, including the promotion of academically sustainable entrepreneurship.
  • Be a department known for interdisciplinary collaboration and research, capitalizing on our interdisciplinarity for recruitment and reputation.
  • Be a department that financially and administratively supports the writing of large center proposals, the creation of new collaborations, and the pursuit of high-impact, innovative research.

To enable this vision, we will:

  • Initiate a visiting fellowship program for two to three academic, national laboratory, and industry scholars each year to spend four to twelve months in the department, with an emphasis on scholars with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
  • Create at least three industry-sponsored faculty fellowships to strengthen connections between the department and industry.
  • Implement a marketing campaign focused on interdisciplinary research, national lab connections, innovation, the diversity of our students, and entrepreneurship in ME, leading to improved department reputation, ranking, and recruiting success.
  • Develop a department fellowship program that provides course buyouts and administrative assistance for faculty undertaking large initiatives, including but not limited to leading large interdisciplinary research proposals and organizing national and international conferences.
  • Assign research area leads responsible for coordinating research activities, graduate courses, peer mentoring, faculty hiring, and award nominations across the department.

Education

Promoting active learning and experiential engineering education.

We educate creative and responsible engineers through active learning and experiential education, with an emphasis on fundamentals and rigorous, team-based experiences addressing real-world problems.

Vision

We are committed to implementing active learning and experiential education across our curriculum to prepare students for the practice of engineering in the classroom and in the field. Classroom activities and project-based learning encourage students to think, collaborate, and connect their education with real-world problems and their future careers. With this focus, students see the impact and value of their education across the student experience, from first-year undergraduates to doctoral candidates.

In the next five years, we will:

  • Be known for empowering graduates to make positive impacts on important contemporary and emerging problems by preparing students to effectively translate strong and broad technical, fundamental, and professional skills to their careers.
  • Be known for our implementation of hands-on, project-based, experiential learning that is evidence-based and data-driven with high-quality facilities.
  • Be welcoming to transfer, first-generation, under-represented, and non-traditional students, and recruit and retain a population reflective of state demographics and our robust international community.

To enable this vision, we will:

  • Complete regular holistic reviews of our curriculum to identify opportunities for improvement and added return on investment for graduates, including the effective implementation of remote education.
  • Integrate connections with industry and alumni throughout the curriculum and grow internship support and opportunities, such that 70% of BS & BAM graduating students will have completed an internship, research, or similar professional training.
  • Grow our PhD program by 10% and our MS program by 25% while maintaining community, quality, and support.
  • Improve and expand our hands-on teaching facilities to support ME and other growing CEAS programs, including adding 2-3 dedicated, discipline-specific facilities with sufficient support from subject matter expert staff.
  • Improve retention and graduation rates by 15% for first-generation and underrepresented populations through the research-based allocation of resources and targeted interventions.

Inclusion

Creating an inclusive community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni

We value a spirit of collaboration and believe that a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusivity is fundamental to both education and scientific innovation.

Vision

We aspire to engage all members of our engineering community and to meaningfully and equitably support students, faculty, and staff whose identities have historically been underrepresented, underserved, and marginalized in engineering. It is only by valuing and respecting the merits of diverse cultural backgrounds and identities that we can facilitate innovative and inclusive approaches to advance scientific breakthroughs, launch new technologies and educate engineers capable of addressing societal challenges. We aim to contribute to greater equity and inclusivity in engineering research and industry by equipping graduates with the knowledge and tools to be effective leaders and innovators.

In the next five years, we will:

  • Be a department where faculty, staff, and students all know that they are valued and that they have opportunities for growth.
  • Be a department that serves a student population reflecting state demographics and our robust international community.
  • Be a community based on trust that has open dialogue about issues and holds ourselves accountable for establishing an inclusive culture and community.
  • Be a place where fun is a value of the department.
  • Be a department that makes (quantitative & qualitative) data-driven decisions to better understand issues and implement positive change.

To enable this vision, we will:

  • Re-envision the DEI Working Group to include a significant outreach component, including a faculty chair of outreach and a new staff hire that will focus on student outcomes and success, outreach coordination, and community initiatives related to inclusion.
  • Improve the annual review structure for all staff members by including individualized pathways for career and professional growth, identified in collaboration with their supervisor.
  • Integrate DEI related goals or targets for all staff and faculty in onboarding, training, and annual performance plans/reviews.
  • Offer Town Hall meetings once a semester where faculty, staff, and students can share feedback and get questions/concerns regarding DEI topics addressed with department leadership.