Welcome to the Spring 2016 newsletter of Environmental and Ecological Engineering (EEE)!  

We often mark our way through life with milestones. Scoring our first soccer goal, our first piano recital, leaving for college, getting married, and the births of our children. For many of these milestones we can identify a specific date on which they occurred. In the near future, we will be celebrating the anniversary of a major milestone in the history of EEE – the founding of EEE.

On July 1, 2006 EEE was formally established as an academic unit within the College of Engineering at Purdue University. So, this summer EEE will be having its 10th birthday. We are planning a big celebration next year to honor this occasion. Please stay tuned for more details.

We have accomplished a great deal in EEE over the past ten years. Let me briefly discuss a few of these achievements.

At the undergraduate level the plan of study (POS) in EEE was launched through the multi-disciplinary engineering (MDE) program in 2008. This was the culmination of two years of intensive planning that built upon nearly a decade of groundwork. Students immediately began flocking to the EEE program. In 2012, the bachelor of science degree in Environmental and Ecological Engineering was approved by the state of Indiana, and in May 2013 the first official class of EEE students graduated with their BS EEE degrees (while the EEE POS students that graduated before 2013 technically received a MDE degree, they are an incredibly important part of the EEE family since they committed to EEE at its inception). The figure shows the growth in the size of the undergraduate program.

When EEE was created, we were charged with establishing both undergraduate and graduate programs. As reported in the last newsletter, the MS and Ph.D. degrees in EEE were approved by the State late last summer. We began a soft launch of the EEE graduate program this year, and amazingly, we have received nearly 150 applications to the program without any advertising whatsoever. Our inaugural cohort of EEE graduate students will begin in fall 2016, but it should be noted that several current Purdue students have already transferred to EEE.

As EEE has grown in terms of students, programs, and assumed greater levels of responsibility, we have added staff to meet our needs. At the outset, we had staff for basic operations and business functions. As our student population increased, we added an advisor, laboratory manager, and manager of industrial experience. With the launching of the graduate program, we have added an administrative assistant to support this academic activity.

When I arrived at Purdue in 2009, I was appointed as the first EEE faculty member. In 2013, four civil engineering faculty assumed 50% appointments in EEE. Two assistant professors (one in ABE and one in MSE) were added in the winter of 2011/2012. A ME faculty member joined EEE with a 50% appointment in January 2014. Four assistant professors joined our team for the start of the 2014/2015 school year (three in CE and one in ABE). And, four faculty were added to the EEE family in 2015/2016 (two in IE, one in agronomy, and one in forestry and natural resources). This brought EEE to 16 faculty members, each with some substantial appointment in EEE.

As we look to the future of EEE, we can expect many additional achievements and milestones. For the undergraduates we anticipate ever greater recognitions such as the ones that our students have already received: NSF graduate fellowships, prestigious scholarships, national level awards, and placement in top flight companies. We look forward to our first masters and Ph.D. graduates in EEE. Our junior faculty will get tenured, promoted, and join the ranks of our senior faculty who have received accolades for teaching excellence, research preeminence, and leadership.

The EEE ten-year anniversary could not have been reached without the extraordinary commitment of students, faculty, staff, and donors. We look forward to many exciting days, months, and years ahead.


Hail Purdue!

John W. Sutherland

Professor and Fehsenfeld Family Head