In Memoriam: Dr. Kamyar Haghighi

Kamyar Haghighi
Founding head of the School of Engineering Education (2004-10) and a national force for engineering education reform based on research and scholarship, Dr. Kamyar Haghighi passed away May 9.

Under his leadership, the School of Engineering Education (ENE) launched the world's first PhD program in engineering education; attracted a critical mass of nationally and internationally recognized faculty; created INSPIRE, the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (the first such institute to combine research on childhood learning of engineering with outreach to teachers); saw the ABET accreditation of the undergraduate Multidisciplinary Engineering Program; and transformed the First-Year Engineering Program with a design-focused curriculum—aligned with the "Purdue Engineer of 2020" paradigm—that integrates seamlessly with the new Ideas to Innovation (i2i) Learning Laboratory. Dr. Haghighi also oversaw the creation of ENE’s first strategic plan, the development of three thriving advisory boards, and the establishment of the Engineering Education Outstanding Alumni Awards.

In 2009, the American Society for Engineering Education honored Dr. Haghighi with the Chester F. Carlson Award, which recognizes an individual innovator in engineering education who, by motivation and ability to reach beyond the accepted traditions, has made a significant contribution to the profession.

A professor of agricultural and biological engineering as well as ENE head, Dr. Haghighi also received the 2009 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Distinguished Service Award, and was recognized at the society's 2009 Annual International Meeting through a special session in which former students gathered to present research ("State-of-the-Art in Application of Finite-Element Numerical Solutions to Engineering Problems: A Session Honoring Pioneering Contributions of Professor Kamyar Haghighi of Purdue University").

"We owe Kamyar an enormous debt of gratitude for all he did for the emerging discipline of engineering education in so many ways, not least for his vision, drive, and leadership in founding our School at Purdue," says Dr. David Radcliffe, who succeeded Dr. Haghighi in the headship as the Kamyar Haghighi Head of the School of Engineering Education. "Our collective success is his legacy."