NM TECH CHE ADVISORY BOARD

MEETING NOTES

OCTOBER 4, 2002

 

The Department of Chemical Engineering continues to have bright, excited students, a dedicated faculty and an enthusiastic leader in Don Weinkauf..  The effective interactions between the Department (Don Weinkauf) and the administration (Pete Gerity) are outstanding and have had visible impact on the faculty and students. Cross training and joint teaching are positive, unique characteristics of TechÍs programs. Board concerns are on the financial support of this department of undergraduate teaching and needed available space for teaching and faculty. The administration recognizes the problems and is actively trying to support the needs of the Department.

 

Actions:

            1. Advisory Board

                        a. Identify opportunities for Carol and students to interview tech writers on

how tech writing is influenced by industry and the decision making process used.

b. Initiate sources of funding for discretionary use by the ChE department

c. Let Gerity know of concerns and needs seen by the Board

d. Review WeinkaufÍs thoughts on plans for the Department ala ABET 2000 and provide inputs to Don.

            2. Weinkauf

                        a. Set up an account to receive discretionary funding from outside sources

                        b. Explore the options of joint teaching with joint allocation of funding

 between departments

c. Better specify the Department constituents Ü important for getting

needed input and also interactions with ABET.

d. Provide Department demographics to Board members.

 

Discussion:

ABET: The ABET reviews were the smoothest Gerity had ever seen. All Tech departments passed with flying colors.  Weinkauf attributed some of the Chem E success to the interest and actions of the Advisory Board.  The inputs from the board and response by the Department were key to demonstrating outreach to their constituents and continuous improvement.

 

 Funding:  Discussion focused on areas needing support by the Department.

State Funding: A NM university undergraduate department is not financially viable with only state funding due to the difference in funding of undergrads ($300 per credit hour for seniors vs. $900 per credit hour for graduate classes).  ChE has managed to survive by the faculty doing research with grad students in other disciplines.  The department has also been supported by special funds from the University (now ending) and soft money (i.e. research grants).  Mechanisms that allow joint teaching with joint credit allocation would not only help the department, but also enhance interactions between departments, a unique feature of Tech.

The Board asked Weinkauf to provide them with Department demographics so they can better understand the changes that are occurring.

 

The University:  Pete Gerity noted that the enrollment was up 9-10% at 1770.  Space is a major limitation with three building renovations as well as modifications to the student union now in progress. Pete has extensive background in distance learning and is developing a major program at Tech.  However the state formula does not include facilities for distance learning making the space issue even more critical.

 

The Department: 

Don reviewed his budgets and noted that the ChemE faculty need to increase their interactions with grad students from other departments (joint appointments) and get appropriate credit for their efforts.  Increased joint activities between departments, a strong point of Tech might be explored. The Board also encouraged Weinkauf to establish a discretionary account to be supported by outside gifts, which he could use for supporting faculty and student needs.

Lab and office space allocation has improved since our last meeting but still has a long way to go.  The Board encourages Don W. to keep pushing to get some contiguous space so the faculty and grad students can be together with reasonable space.  The Board supports DonÍs suggestion about sharing an environmental lab adjacent to the ChemE lab.

Don W. reviewed his plan for aligning his program with the direction of ABET 2002, a process that attempts to encourage departments to continually look at them selves to improve their education process and to provide the graduates desired by their industries.  Don asked the Board to review his straw document and send him any comments.  Definition of the ñconstituencyî was identified as needing some work.  Academia is surely one of the constituents and should be added.  The Board suggested that Don better define his constituencies in order to get needed feedback.  Don was encouraged to push the limit in his objectives, e.g. dream of the future.

 

The Students: The three students present continued the kudos to Weinkauf that we have heard the last several years.  They obviously liked the school and the ChE profs.  Their concerns included:

            a. Kinetics is sterile and hard to follow with no physical reference.  A couple of simple experiments would be most helpful to understand the concepts.

            b. Metlab is OK but their industry and class experiences suggest that programs such as EXCEL are more used and important, and might be emphasized more.

            c. What do Chem EÍs do?  The students do not get an indication of what a chem e does until their junior year, leading some to drop out early, or be unhappy when they find out ChemE areas of expertise.  Suggestions were made to relook at the 110-111 sequence and replace the 110 with an intro to ChemE., such as the summer mini-engineering program. Add some hands on research in ChemE in 110. Possibly have a speakerÍs seminar and encourage all freshmen to attend the senior project reviews.

 

Carole Yee Request: Carole is in the university administration but still doing research Ü most admirable and encouraging.  She asked the Board to help her identify opportunities in industry where she and students could interview staff involved in technical writing.  Her interest is on the difference in various industry approaches and the decision process used to prepare papers.

 

Attendance

            Dave Boneau               dboneau@pvtnetworks.net

            Lincoln Busselle          lincoln.d..busselle@intel.com

            Mark Cal                     mcal@nmt.edu

Junhang Dong             jhdong@nmt.edu

Doug Dunston            ddunston@nmt.edu

Dr. Gerity                    vpaa@admin.nmt.edu

            Justine Johannes         jejohane@sandia.gov

            Glenn Kuswa              gwkuswa@sandia.gov  & orgkuswa@comcast.net

            W. Jerry Parkinson     parkinson@lanl.gov

            Dick Traeger               rktraeg@aol.com

            Carole Yee                   cyee@nmt.edu