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ENE Memo: March 7, 2016

From the Head: 03/07/2016

Unwritten Laws of Engineering - Part I

The Unwritten Laws of Engineering by W. J. King was first published in 1944 as three articles in the ASME magazine, Mechanical Engineering. These "laws" for professional conduct have been reprinted several times since and an updated edition with revisions and additions by James Skakoon was published in 2004. Over the next few weeks, I will highlight parts of this wise and seemingly timeless advice contained in a small volume. I want to acknowledge Alec Hartman, an MDE student, who brought these gems to our attention.

Although written with young engineers just starting out in mind, much of this advice is more broadly applicable. 

In relation to work.

  • However menial and trivial your early assignments may appear, give them your best efforts
  • Demonstrate the ability to get things done. This quality is achieved by various means under different circumstances, but it can probably be reduced to a combination of three basic characteristics:
    • Initiative, which is expressed in energy to start something and aggressiveness to keep it moving.
    • Resourcefulness and ingenuity, or the faculty for finding ways to accomplish the desired result.
    • Persistence or tenacity, which is the disposition to persevere in spite of difficulties, discouragement, or indifference.
  • Develop a "Let's go see!" attitude
  • Don't be timid — speak up — express yourself and promote your ideas
  • Strive for conciseness and clarity in oral or written reports; be extremely careful of the accuracy of your statements

In relation to your supervisor: 

  • One of the first things you owe your supervisor is to keep him or her informed of all significant developments
  • Do not overlook the steadfast truth that your direct supervisor is your "boss."
  • Be as particular as you can in the selection of your supervisor
  • Whenever you are asked by your manager to do something, you are expected to do exactly that

Regarding relations with colleagues and outsiders:

  • Cultivate the habit of seeking other peoples' opinions and recommendations
  • Promises, schedules, and estimates are necessary and important instruments in a well-ordered business
  • In dealing with customers and outsiders, remember that you represent the company, ostensibly with full responsibility and authority

These are just the headlines. I encourage you to read the original article in which a more nuanced exploration of these ideas is developed. A copy of the full article can be found in Mechanical Engineering Oct 2010, Vol. 132 Issue 10, pp42-46, available online via the Purdue Library web page.


Kudos: 03/07/2016

… to Catherine Berdanier on successfully defending her PhD dissertation titled “Learning the Language of Academic Engineering: Sociocognitive Writing in Graduate Students

... to Robin Adams on being duly elected as the faculty senator representing ENE. Her term officially starts in summer 2016. For the final two senate meetings this semester (March and April), David Radcliffe will attend the senate as ENE guest representative. Heidi Diefes-Dux on her interview included in the February 2016 ASEE PRISM article, Made to Measure, written by Mary Lord. 


News and Information: 03/07/2016

Staff-inspired Transformation - Invitation to Participate

As the College of Engineering has expanded over the past few years, one important goal was to not only grow but also to transform. Many staff members have been active participants in discussions on transformation. The Dean and the whole College Leadership Team are eager to have staff members as full participants in the transformation process. Staff insights and efforts can make our operations and services more efficient, transparent, and inclusive.

Accordingly, all staff are encouraged to be part of this transformation process by submitting ideas on how we can improve one or more of our operations or services. The list of ideas will be consolidated, and each staff member will then be able to join a team to create a proposal to implement the idea. Finally, teams will be invited to present their proposals to a group of staff and faculty who will recommend the proposals to be implemented.

Staff members are invited to propose ideas for changes staff members can implement (with the support of their supervisors and resources, as needed, from the College).  The changes should lead to the College having one or more of the characteristics identified as being important to our future success.  Some of these characteristics were identified in a survey administered last year.  They include: striving for excellence and being creative, dynamic, transparent, inclusive, innovative, open to change, collaborative, and efficient.  Ideas can be big or small; resources for teams will be available as they create their proposals for presentation.

A webpage has been created to give an overview of the process.

Please submit your idea(s) by completing the idea submission form by Friday, March 25.  If you have any questions, please contact Will Sondgerath at

This opportunity to help transform Purdue Engineering will be a focus of the scheduled ENE Staff meeting on March 25.

Relay For Life

American Cancer Society's Colleges Against Cancer Organization host the Relay For Life each spring. Relay For Life is a 12 hour overnight event to symbolize the fight against cancer a patient goes through with nightfall representing the diagnosis and sunrise representing the light at the end of the tunnel.  During the event, teams are encouraged to host an onsite fundraiser and have a least one member of their team walking the track at all times.  There are also multiple ceremonies throughout the event to help us honor those currently fighting and remember our loved ones who have passed on.

The Purdue event is April 8-9th from 6pm-6am in the France A. Cordova Recreational Sports Center. There is a Purdue Faculty and Staff team, and you only have to kick start your fundraising by donating $10 to sign up. The link to the website to sign up and find out more information is below.

If you are unable to attend this event, there are several ways to show your support for the cause:

  • Host a department fundraiser such as a dress down day for department faculty and staff
  • Make a personal monetary donation to the event
  • Volunteer with the American Cancer Society
  • Participate in the Tippecanoe Relay For Life

Calendar: 03/07/2016

Spring 2016

  • March 10: Faculty Meeting, 9:30 – 11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • March 10: ENE Research Seminar, 3:30-4:30pm, ARMS BO71 (Weekly)
  • March 11: ENE Friday Noon-Thirty Lunch, 12:30 – 1:30 pm, WANG Kitchen
  • March 14/19: Spring Break
  • March 24: ENE Primary Committee (Assistant cases), 9:30 – 11:20am, WANG 3501
  • March 25: Staff Meeting, 8:30 – 9:30am, Wang 3501
  • March 25: ENE Friday Noon-Thirty Lunch, 12:30 – 1:30 pm, WANG Kitchen
  • March 31: Faculty Meeting, 9:30 – 11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • April 1: ENE Friday Noon-Thirty Lunch, 12:30 – 1:30 pm, WANG Kitchen
  • April 4: ENE Primary Committee (Associate cases), 2:00 – 5:00pm, WANG 3501
  • April 8: ENE Friday Noon-Thirty Lunch, 12:30 – 1:30 pm, WANG Kitchen
  • April 11/12: ENE Industrial Advisory Council
  • April 14: Faculty Career Colloquium (Dr. Radcliffe), 3:30 – 4:20pm, ARMS BO71
  • April 15: ENE Friday Noon-Thirty Lunch, 12:30 – 1:30 pm, WANG Kitchen
  • April 20: ENE Outstanding Alumni Awards
  • April 21: Faculty Meeting, 9:30 – 11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • April 22: ENE Friday Noon-Thirty Lunch, 12:30 – 1:30 pm, WANG Kitchen
  • April 29: ENE Friday Noon-Thirty Lunch, 12:30 – 1:30 pm, WANG Kitchen
  • April 30: Classes end
  • May 5: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • May 10: Grades Due
  • May 11/12: ENE Strategic Advance
  • May 13: Engineering Commencement, 8pm, Elliot Hall of Music
  • May 25: Spring Fling, 11:30am – 4pm, Memorial Mall

Summer 2016

  • June 26 – 29: ASEE 2016, New Orleans
  • Aug 13 – 15: 3rd P-12 Engineering and Design Education Research Summit, Chicago

Fall 2016

  • Aug 14: End-of-Summer Potluck, 5 – 8pm, Happy Hollow Park
  • Aug 15: Faculty return
  • Aug 17: ENE Advance (TBD)
  • Aug 22: Classes begin

Funding Opportunities: 03/07/2016

Selected Funding Opportunities: 

NSF Science Learning+ Partnership Grants Within the NSF context, Science Learning+ is a strand within project type 3, Research in Service to Practice, of the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program. Science Learning+ is an open call for proposals for Partnership Grants through an international partnership between the NSF and the Wellcome Trust with the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The aims of Science Learning+ are to strengthen the research and knowledge base; bridge the practice and research gap; and/or share knowledge and experience in informal STEM experiences. Deadline: June 14

NSF Dear Colleague Letter: I-Corps L – Stimulating Innovation in STEM Education  I-Corps for Learning (I-Corps L) Teams will receive support - in the form of mentoring and funding - to accelerate innovation in learning that can be successfully scaled, in a sustainable manner. I-Corps L promotes an entrepreneurial approach to getting the best evidence-based practices out to potential adopters where those practices can benefit large numbers of students or learners, rather than just in a few classrooms or informal learning organizations. Proposals must be submitted in accordance with the guidance provided in the I-Corps Teams solicitation and must be received by April 1.

ED-OSERS Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities – Stepping-up Technology Implementation The purpose of this priority is to fund cooperative agreements to: (a) Identify strategies needed to effectively implement evidence-based technology tools that benefit students with disabilities; and (b) develop and disseminate products that will help a broad range of schools and early intervention programs to effectively implement these technology tools. Deadline: April 14

NEH Fellowships Fellowships support individuals pursuing advanced research that is of value to humanities scholars, general audiences, or both. Recipients usually produce articles, monographs, books, digital materials, archaeological site reports, translations, editions, or other scholarly resources in the humanities. Projects may be at any stage of development.  Deadline: April 28

NEH-Mellon Fellowships for Digital Publication Through these fellowships, the NEH and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation jointly support individual scholars pursuing research projects that require digital expression and digital publication. To be eligible for this special opportunity, an applicant’s plans for digital publication must be essential to the project’s research goals. That is, the project must be conceived as digital because the nature of the research and the topics being addressed demand presentation beyond traditional print publication.  Deadline: April 28

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leaders  This call for applications seeks teams of researchers and community members who are committed to working together to produce community-relevant, action-oriented research to improve health and well-being. Deadline: April 19

Limited Submissions:

Preproposals and rankings to the EVPRP should be e-mailed to Purdue’s open limited submission competitions, limited submission policy, and templates for preproposals may be found at For any case in which the number of preproposals received is no more than the number of proposals allowed by the sponsor, the EVPRP will notify the PI(s) that an internal competition will be unnecessary.

Limited Submission:  NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC)  MRSECs support multidisciplinary materials research and education of the highest quality while addressing fundamental problems in materials science of a scope and complexity requiring the scale and synergy provided by a campus-based research center. MRSECs require outstanding research quality, intellectual breadth, multidisciplinarity, flexibility in responding to new research opportunities, support for research infrastructure, and foster the integration of research and education in the materials field. They are expected to have strong links to industry and other sectors, as appropriate, and to contribute to the development of a national network of university-based centers in materials research.  A MRSEC may address any area of research supported by the NSF Division of Materials Research which include 8 programs:  Biomaterials, Ceramics, Condensed Matter Physics, Condensed Matter and Materials Theory, Electronic and Photonic Materials, Metals and Metallic Nanostructures, Polymers, and Solid State and Materials Chemistry.

A MRSEC must contain two to three interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs). Each IRG involves several faculty members (typically 6 to 10) addressing a major topic or area, in which sustained support for interactive effort by the several participants of complementary backgrounds, skills, and knowledge is critical to progress. The IRGs in a center may be thematically related, or they may address different aspects of materials research. The center as a whole is expected to be more than the sum of its IRGs, with the synergy arising from its common infrastructure, shared facilities, education and outreach activities, etc.  Awards are expected to range in size from $2.2M to $4M a year for up to six years.  For this competition, Purdue may submit only one preliminary proposal as the lead institution.

Internal deadlines:

  • Monday, March 21: Preproposals due to the EVPRP.
  • Monday, March 28: Preproposal rankings due to the EVPRP. 

Sponsor deadlines:  July 1 – Preliminary proposal; December 2 – Full proposal (by invite only).


NASA ARMD’s Vision Forum  NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate is holding an important forum online to talk about NASA’s vision in aeronautics and soliciting proposals from single and multiple-university teams with industry partners related to this.  The Pre-Solicitation Vendor’s Forum will take place on Wed March 9, 2016 from 12:30-3:00 pm ET. For more information regarding a Purdue response, please feel free to contact Tom Shih.

As always, we appreciate your sharing this information with your faculty.  Please contact Sue Grimes (, Kristyn Jewell (, or Perry Kirkham ( with any questions.

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