Department Activity Report


Chemical Engineering


Review Year 2001








Prepared Spring 2002





The mission of our program is to engage and prepare students for professional careers which require command of the principles of Chemical Engineering. We will focus on the development of complete engineers who can foster innovation through know-how and champion ideas through effective communication. We will deliver a thorough education with insightful teaching, an innovative curriculum, research opportunities, summer job experiences, and channels for permanent, successful careers. All of our efforts are done in the context of providing the human and technical resources critical to enhancing the vitality of the State of New Mexico and the people and businesses that thrive within this region. Like our counterparts in industry, we recognize that achievement of our mission can only be accomplished by continual self-assessment and actions to improve.


Key 2001 Accomplishments:


  1. Enrollment:  Fully adopted web-based recruiting system with visual web tour and prospective student email tracking mechanisms. 
  2. Research: 3.5 FTE published 9 peer reviewed technical articles (or 2.6/FTE).
  3. Research: graduated 3 M.S. Engineering students (or 0.9/FTE).
  4. Educational: Outstanding Alumni Survey results in line with Mission
  5. Educational:  Teaching Award
  6. Assessment:  Addressed all 2000 Advisory Board Action List

7.     Assessment:  Highly successful ABET-EAC review (Fall 2001)


Program Assessment:


To achieve the objectives outlined in the Chemical Engineering Mission statement, we have developed a fairly extensive list of assessment tools including:


1)         Outside review by the ABET Engineering Accreditation Board

2)         Annual outside review by the NMT Chemical Engineering Advisory Board

3)         Alumni Surveys

4)         Semester Teaching and Lab Evaluations

5)         Senior Design Review and Assessment

6)         EIT Professional Engineering Exam


In the fall of 2001, the Chemical Engineering Program underwent an extensive review by ABET-EAC.  The results of the review were exceedingly strong.  The visiting ABET team took particular note of our willingness to adopt an innovative curriculum to teach ˝softţ skills.  The Chemical Engineering Advisory Board meets annually (fall meeting was postponed to spring in lieu of ABET visit).  The board sets actions for the coming year defining both champions and timeframe.  The 2001 actions are described in the Short Term Goals section.   In addition to the Advisory Board both long and short term Departmental goals are guided by feedback from Alumni Surveys, Teaching Evaluations (mostly on an individual basis), and results of the FE exam.  At present, 85% of all Chemical Engineering students who have taken the exam have passed. The faculty is also guided by the comments of New Mexico═s industrial representatives who participate in the annual review of the Senior Design Projects.


Report Outline:


The Department Activity Report (DAR) is divided into long and short term goals.   Long term goals were laid out in the 1998 Five-Year Plan while short term goals are defined annually.  Each of the long term goals is identified in italics. 


Long Term Enrollment Goals:


The Chemical Engineering Program will continue its steady growth over the next five years to a total enrollment of between 75 and 80 undergraduates by the fall of 2003. 


As shown in the chart below, enrollment has continued to grow on pace with the projections from the 1998 report.  The growth trends are largely due to the aggressive, individual recruiting efforts, outstanding advising, and strong employment opportunities for NMT ChE graduates.  The dip in fall 2001 freshmen enrollment is significant and reflects the shut-down of our recruiting program in spring 2001.  This past year, we have added an automatic email/location feature to our web-based perspective student survey, which provides the department with a direct email link to perspective students.  A web-tour has also been added allowing perspective students a visual glimpse of life as a Chemical Engineer at NMT.


Figure 1.    Current and Expected Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Enrollment

Long Term Educational Goals:


We will deliver a thorough education with insightful teaching, an innovative curriculum, research opportunities, summer job experiences, and channels for permanent, successful careers.


In the fall 2001 Alumni Survey, 35 our of 36 Chemical Engineering graduates are employed in Engineering or Graduate School.  Forty four percent of our graduates have attended graduate school, 90% reported having a engineering/technical summer job experience, 75% reported having a meaningful research experience of one semester or more while at Tech.  The major areas of employment for our graduates include national labs, semiconductor, and oil & gas, which largely reflects the employment base of the State of New Mexico.  To improve our Educational mission, our faculty are continuing to hone their teaching skills while developing stronger research components to be available for  students.  Additionally, we will continue to develop stronger relations with industry to enhance summer and permanent employment outlooks. 



Long Term Research Goals:


The Chemical Engineering program faculty will continue to contribute to the graduate research activities on the campus although no formal graduate program exists.


Despite the purely undergraduate nature of the Chemical Engineering Department, we have established one of the highest levels of research activity per capita on campus.  In 2001, our 3.5 FTE produced 9 published papers with 4 others in press.  The peer reviewed journal article publication rate of 2.6/FTE is one of the most productive on campus.  Three M.S. degrees were also awarded in 2001 from Chemical Engineering faculty advisement.  The five year goal is to bring the graduate population to 10 (that is grad. Students advised by Chemical Engineering faculty).  At present, 4 graduates are being advised by the faculty.  To improve this mark, the young faculty Dr.═s Dong and Jeon will be mentored regarding grantsmanship.  


Within the five year time frame, it would be imprudent to expect New Mexico Tech to sacrifice the additional resources (particularly faculty positions) to support a graduate program in Chemical Engineering.  However, with current formula funding levels, a graduate program is the only practical means of becoming a self-sufficient or viable program.  The administration must find some means to fully reward the research and graduate student contributions of the Chemical Engineering faculty so that it can establish viability without demanding additional resources for a formal graduate program.



Short Term Goals for 2001:


The short term goals and actions for 2001 are outlined in the Table below along with progress toward these goals. 





Recommended Action



Status as of Fall 2001


Find a champion to revamp ES 110. Owner Pete Gerity/Don Weinkauf

Materials Engineering is considering injecting a new energetic professor to revamp course.  In response to other board input, Chemical Engineering is considering redesigning its own intro course structure.



Develop staffing plan, due by 01/01. Owner Pete Gerity

Staffing plan developed.  Dr. Junhang Dong hired as Asst. Professor fall 2001.  Dmitri Ivnitski given Chemical Engineering Research Professor position fall 2001.  Additional TA resources allocated (See TA item 5 below).



Advisory Board should contact Melanie Torres in the placement office to share lessons learned from recruiter═s perspective. Owner Don Hooper.


Don Hooper (Intel Corp) met with Career Services Office and offered assistance in improving methods of recruitment.



Perform a safety audit of all chemical engineering facilities and procedures.  Investigate transferring safety training from Intel to NMTech. Owner Don Weinkauf will find owner/Lincoln Busselle.


Weinkauf/Dunston attended Intel safety course Spring 2001.

Mandatory safety glass areas adopted in fall 2001.  ˝Costly but Comfortableţ Safety glasses supplied to students with excellent acceptance.  Intel safety course delivered to Seniors by Lincoln Busselle fall 2001.


Pursue formula driven TA funding plan. Don will make it an agenda at the next Council of Chairs. Owners Pete Gerity/Don Weinkauf.

Formula discussed and clarified.  Chemical Engineering TA budget increased by 50% to $30,000 per year.



Evaluate different possibilities for getting ASPEN into classroom. Check into possibility of sharing with other departments in the university or sharing with industrial partners. Owner: Bob Bretz/Barbara Savage.

Reasonable 3 year multiuser license arranged with ChemStation ChemCad.  The package is much more comprehensive than the previous ProSimII software and included Heat Exchanger Design, Batch Distillation, Process Control Simulation, and many other additional features.  Administration shared cost of license purchase.



Continued course innovations are encouraged, including drawing on non-engineering resources such as Doug Dunston.  Owner: Don Weinkauf

Continue to use Dr. Dunston in Junior Design Lab.  Dr. Dunston also taught a course in ˝Principles of Leadership in Engineering Practiceţ in the Spring 2001.  He will teach a ChE course entitled ˝Creativity and Innovation in Designţ in Spring 2002.



Develop a course road map for undergraduate students including coop options.  Owner: Don Weinkauf and faculty with student input.


Completed as part of new Student Handbook available on the web.


Advisory Board members actively support the student interactions with industry.  Owner:  All Board members


Excellent summer and permanent employment picture for 2001 grads.


Advisory Board of legislative efforts to rally support. Distribute membership information of Advisory board to Debbie in Administration. Owner Pete Gerity/Don Weinkauf


No required actions for Board.


Short Term Goals 2002:


  1. Establish program to develop young faculty into strong teachers and researchers.
  2. Develop Chemical Engineering High School visit demonstration/lecture.
  3. Involve Alumni in a What do Chemical Engineers Do? Section of website.
  4. Develop a ChE Prospective Student Tracking program.
  5. Revamp the ChE Summer Short Course ▄ Investigate Freshman ChE Course.
  6. Formally adopt ABET 2000 Self-Assessment Plan ▄ 2002 Advisory Board action.
  7. Establish more structured ties with Materials and Environmental Engineering graduate programs.
  8. Introduce new technical elective ChE 489 ▄ Fuel Cell Technology
  9. Increase representation/reputation in ACS and AIChE on a national level.