Skip navigation

ENE Memo: December 19, 2011

From the Head: 12/19

Looking Forward – Looking Back

The end of the year is traditionally a time to reflect and take stock of who we are and who we aspire to be.

This has been a very challenging semester, yet together we have achieved much for which we can be rightly proud. We managed to accommodate and support the learning of an unprecedented number of first-year engineering students. Several new staff and visiting faculty have joined us at this critical time to make this possible. This increased number of students looks like the “new normal,” and we will likely be investing in additional people to support and enhance the student experience. We also broke new ground by piloting a novel graduate course focused on educational research in industry, co-taught by the chair of our Industrial Advisory Council, Rick Zadoks.

However, our most significant accomplishment for the semester was the External Review of the school. In addition to the time taken during the site visit when we met with the review team, this exercise involved considerable effort over nearly nine months in preparing the “self-study” report and in planning the site visit. The report from the review committee will be available in January, and this will provide a valuable external perspective on what we have achieved and how we might move to the next level going forward. However, the real learning arises from our reflecting on what we have achieved, areas where we can improve, creative ways to tackle emerging challenges and how to seize future opportunities. It is the lessons we take from preparing for and participating in this review that will provide the strength to take on the challenges ahead.

The Interdisciplinary Engineering Colloquium on the theme of "It Takes a Team" highlighted what can be achieved when individuals focus their collective energies on a common goal. Another lesson from the first 50 years of human space flight is the courage and tenacity necessary to pursue a vision through adversity and the importance of being flexible and adaptable when things take an unexpected path or don’t turn out as originally planned. Our stated vision for a more inclusive, socially connected, and scholarly engineering education” is bold, even audacious. It challenges us to be a model of this new engineering education as we strive to accomplish our mission of transforming engineering education based on scholarship and research.” As happened with the story of human space flight, the pioneers can provide an exemplar that inspires others to action; they have the unique opportunity to leave a legacy of doing and being that others build upon.

As pioneers, the ENE community has an opportunity to demonstrate a new engineering education and ultimately a new engineering – a road less travelled. The six critical polarities (below), identified in 2007 as part of the strategic plan process, remain with us and still need to be carefully managed. In many ways, the growing pains of working through these has made them even more acute and contentious in the intervening time.


FYE and IDE Legacy:

Individual Achievement:

Philosophical Heart of Tenure:

Working Nationally and Globally:

Being an Emergent Environment:


New Research Identity

Membership of a Vibrant Community

Conformance with Norms of Tenure

Building a Cohesive ENE Community

Clarity About Who We Are / What We Do

As we approach our tenth anniversary as ENE (in April 2014), we should think deeply about who – collectively – we want to become and what our true legacy will be.

But that is something for the New Year…

For now, my hope is that each of you will have the opportunity for some relaxing downtime over the coming weeks, be able to catch up with family and friends and recharge your batteries and return safely – refreshed and reinvigorated.

– David

News and Information: 12/19

Life of a Faculty Entrepreneur

A new course that will be offered in Spring 2012 for faculty and graduate students interested in translating research into tangible products.  The course will be led by Mike Ladisch, Distinguished Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.  Lectures will present case studies of technologies and pathways to commercialization.  Guest speakers and networking opportunities will address issues related to the startup process. 

Course title/number: Life of a Faculty Entrepreneur: Discovery, Development, Translation (ABE 691)

Date/Time: Thursday evenings from 6-8pm in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121

For more information about the course, please contact Mike Ladisch at or Nathalie Duval-Couetil (co-instructor) at  For registration information, please contact Charlie Armstrong at

ENE 502 Videos Now Available on YouTube

If you weren't able to join the "History and Philosophy of Engineering  Education" class for the premiere of the students' videos (addressing the question "What is engineering education?"), take a look here.

YouTube videos from the last four years of the course, including this semester's set, are available here.

Material for Next ENE Memo

Please get news and information to Lisa Tally or David Radcliffe for the next ENE Memo by Friday Jan 6.

Calendar: 12/19

  • Fri/Mon, Dec. 23, 26: Purdue holiday
  • Fri/Mon, Dec 30, Jan 2: Purdue holiday

Spring 2012

Independence and National around the World

  • Dec 21 - Nepal - Kingdom Declared
  • Jan 1 – Cuba – Liberation Day
  • Jan 1 – Sudan - National Day
  • Jan 4 – Myanmar – Independence Day

Kudos: 12/19 Johannes Strobel on a new publication:

Tillberg-Webb, H. & Strobel, J. (2011) Analysis of Technological Ideologies in Education: A Translation of Lessons from Technological Dystopian Literature into Educational Theory. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology, 15, 2, 170-181

To suggest content for future issues of ENE Memo, contact David Radcliffe or Lisa Tally by midday Friday for the following week's issue.