November 2002 Newsletter

In this issue:


The fall semester is quickly melting away, and soon the students will return to their homes for the holiday break. You're sure to remember the feelings of relief knowing a long break was near, and panic realizing that before the much-needed break could be enjoyed, semester projects and final exams had to be endured. But even with this there is a sort of unquenchable joy that comes with nearing holidays and the crispness of the cooling temperatures.

Purdue's students continue to be a great source of energy for me. I feel very protective of the unbeatable undergraduate experience provided our students by faculty and staff. I see this as an imperative as I discuss the future of our programs with each of the discipline-based advisory councils that provide guidance to our heads, as well as the Engineering Visiting Committee (EVC) that provides insight and advice to me and my colleagues and the Engineering Alumni Association (EAA) Board of Directors.

One area of cited importance to the EVC is to help us break down traditional academic boundaries to create enriched learning and discovery environments. Success in this area would create high value to students by enabling them to develop leadership skills through deeper knowledge about business practices, improved ability in communications, greater understanding of the impact of IT on sales, production and service, and broader appreciation of international and cultural issues.

Our other engineering-wide advocacy group, EAA, is working hard to help chart a course for greater involvement of alumni in the early identification, recruitment, and mentoring of middle school and high school students. They are putting their energy over the next few months into helping us map our recruitment activity and will involve Freshman Engineering, with the help of its advisory council, current students, and the admissions office to gather information. Once this process is completed, they will provide me with a recommendation on how alumni can most effectively plug into these efforts.

According to President Jischke's strategic plan, Purdue will receive 300 new faculty positions. A number of these positions will come to Engineering, helping us grow our faculty from the present number of 275 to 350. The added faculty will improve the quality of our undergraduate programs and reduce the student-to-faculty ratio from 24 to 19.

To take advantage of this opportunity, we have been working on identifying new areas of excellence that we are calling "signature areas." These areas, each multidisciplinary and responding to issues of national priority, present opportunities for us to establish international leadership as we add to our strengths by hiring faculty in clusters. Each cluster area will hire a combination of senior and junior faculty. While this new process will require flexibility in implementation and continuous assessment, it has the potential to flex the traditional disciplinary boundaries and allow our faculty and students to explore new areas of exciting science and groundbreaking technologies.

While our strategic plan is still in very rough form, you are welcome to view here. We are working hard to have a completed draft ready for the provost by January 1.

One last note of importance: A management alum, Bill Bindley, has offered a challenge to all alumni of Purdue. For every 1.5 million named professorship funded during the campaign (starting September 27, 2002), he will match with another of the same value with a maximum of 15 possible. No unit can have more than four, and even that is not guaranteed, as this is on a first-come first-served basis. However, if the Engineering alumni wish to meet his challenge, we could potentially win up to four.

My thanks again for your thoughts and support.

Linda Katehi

John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering


Staff Recognition Awards

The first Staff Recognition Awards Banquet, planned to be an annual event, was held November 21, 2002, in the Purdue Memorial Union. More than 300 family members and colleagues gathered to honor the following outstanding staff members for their commitment and contributions to the engineering enterprise here at Purdue.

Judy Anderson, Administrative Assistant, Freshman Engineering
Leadership Award: For her outstanding accomplishments and inspiring influence.

David Bowker, Director of Recruitment, Freshman Engineering
New Employee Award: For his outstanding achievements, initiative, and attitude.

Donna Cackley, Secretary, Mechanical Engineering
Customer Service Award: For her outstanding achievements in serving faculty, students, and colleagues.

Cathy Elwell, Records Clerk, Freshman Engineering
Customer Service Award: For her outstanding accomplishments in serving students, parents, and colleagues.

Karen Hatke, Joint Transportation Research Program Coordinator, Civil Engineering
Customer Service Award: For her outstanding service to external customers and to colleagues within the University.

Linda Higgins, Administrative Assistant, Undergraduate Office, Civil Engineering
Customer Service Award: For her outstanding accomplishments and constructive interactions with students, faculty, and industry.

Jeffery Johnson, Systems Developer, Technical Assistance Program
New Employee Award: For his outstanding technical performance and collegial attitude.

Jackie Lanter, Recruitment and Communications Assistant, Freshman Engineering
Leadership Award: For her outstanding achievements and record of assuming increased responsibility.

Frederick "Fritz" Peacock, Supervisor of Technical Services, Ray W. Herrick Laboratories, Mechanical Engineering
Leadership Award: For his outstanding technical and managerial accomplishments.

Faculty Honors

Aero's Kathleen Howell named among "50 most important women in science"
Kathleen Howell, a professor in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, has been included in a list of Discover magazine's "50 most important women in science." The listing is published in the November issue of the magazine. Howell has worked with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to create an "interplanetary superhighway," a method that enables spacecraft to travel through the solar system by taking advantage of the gravitational attractions of the sun and planets. The technique provides pathways that can slash the amount of fuel used by spacecraft. Howell and one of her graduate students designed such a pathway for NASA's low-fuel Genesis probe, launched in 2001. The probe is designed to collect samples of solar wind and return them to Earth.

Leah Jamieson, the Ransburg Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has had an epic career - particularly for her work bringing engineering expertise from the classroom into the community. Now Jamieson has been named the 2002 Indiana Professor of the Year, announced Thursday, November 21, 2002, by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, which administers the program.

Jan Allebach has been appointed the Michael J. and Katherine R. Birck Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Allebach's research focuses on printing and displaying images, color measurement, scanning and sampling of multidimensional signals, and synthesis of digital diffractive elements.

Klod Kokini, an assistant dean of engineering and a professor of mechanical engineering, has been named a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The fellow grade is conferred upon a member with at least 10 years of active engineering practice who has made significant contributions to the field. The 125,000-member society is a worldwide organization focusing on technical, educational and research issues.

Shimon Nof, a professor of industrial engineering, is one of four winners of the 2002 Joseph F. Engelberger Award, the robotics industry's most prestigious honor. The awards are issued by the Robotic Industries Association. Nof won the award for his contributions to education through pioneering the use of computerized simulators for education and training in robotic manufacturing, which have been used by more than 400 universities and companies around the world.

Student Recognitions

Civil Engineering student chapter honored
The civil engineering student chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers has been named the nation's outstanding student chapter for 2002. Professors Darcy Bullock and Andrzej Tarko serve as faculty advisers for this student organization. "This is a very competitive award and exceptional recognition of student involvement in our program," says Fred Mannering, head of the School of Civil Engineering.


Purdue is hosting a road show on December 14th from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Indianapolis Convention Center in preparation for the women's and men's Purdue-versus-Indiana basketball doubleheader at the RCA Dome. The women play at 5 p.m., the men at 8 p.m. Contact:


With November 23's win against IU, the Boilermakers are now bowl-eligible. Check in with the EAA (Engineering Alumni Association) Web site at to discover the details, as they become known, about a bowl bid and related alumni events.


Purdue's nationwide road trips--"Purdue Days Across America"--continue. Save the date for the January 17 reception at Tucson, Arizona, followed by a January 18 reception at Phoenix, Arizona. On February 1, Purdue travels to Dallas, Texas-then arrives at Naples, Florida, on February 8. Contact:


Happy holidays!

December 14, 2002

December 15, 2002

    Engineering Send-off Graduation (2:30 p.m.)

Happy New Year!

January 13, 2003

    Classes Resume

January 17, 2003

January 18, 2003


February 1, 2003

February 8, 2003

February 15-16, 2003

February 17-19, 2003

    Co-op Days (Co-op office: 765-494-7430)

February 20, 2003

February 21, 2003

Contact Us

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