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ENE Memo: November 7, 2011

From the Head: 11/7

It Takes a Team

This Thursday the school is hosting the inaugural Interdisciplinary Engineering Colloquium, entitled "It Takes a Team." Significantly, it is a collaboration between the Colleges of Engineering and Liberal Arts at Purdue. The reason for creating the Colloquium Series is to celebrate the heritage of the Interdisciplinary Engineering program as a founding partner of our School of Engineering Education. It also recognizes the centrality of interdisciplinary perspectives at the core of our PhD program and reminds us that the First-Year Engineering Program articulates the full breadth of the engineering disciplines in our program planning, our teaching and our advising.

This year's colloquium celebrates the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight by placing a spotlight on the geopolitical and societal context and technological challenges of the Space Race between the USA and the Soviet Union in the early 1960s, exploring the much more complex nature of the human and technological systems in the space shuttle era, and asking what lessons we can learn from this for the future of human exploration of space. 

The speakers are our own Engineering Education Outstanding Alumnus, a graduate of the Interdisciplinary Engineering program in systems engineering, Gary Horlacher, who is a flight director with NASA, and Dr. Mike Smith, a historian from the College of Liberal Arts.

While Purdue is rightly proud of being the “cradle of the astronauts,” it takes a team to launch an astronaut into space, and Purdue graduates, researchers and scholars have contributed in many different ways to making human space travel possible and to helping us understand the broader social, political and historical significance of these technological accomplishments.

Teams come in many shapes and sizes. From a sports perspective, we know that it is important to ask the question: Is it better to have a “team of champions” or a “champion team”? The remarkable collection of people behind the success of the human spaceflight program were a champion team, individually very capable at what they did but working together on a shared mission–“of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth”–a champion team!

There are lessons for the academy in this. We traditionally focus on gathering together a team of champions – just hire the very top people and the rest will happen. This can work. However, as the complexity of the questions before us ramps up, not only do we need to form interdisciplinary teams of very capable people, we have to ensure that they function as a champion team, so they can achieve to their full potential not only as individuals but also, and more importantly, as a team.

 - David

News and Information: 11/7

ENE Research Seminar


Gary Horlacher (BS IDE'89), NASA Flight Director, and Dr. Michael Harris, Associate Professor of History, Purdue

Title It Takes a Team: Reflections at the 50th Anniversary of Human Spaceflight
Details 3:30-4:20 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 10,  Atrium, Armstrong Hall


2011-12 Alcohol and Drug Information

Purdue University is committed to providing students, faculty, staff and visitors a safe and healthy campus and workplace. The University recognizes the health risks associated with controlled substance use and alcohol misuse and is committed to supporting students and employees who seek treatment for these conditions. The University also recognizes that controlled substance use and alcohol misuse diminish workplace and campus safety and undermine the University’s ability to fulfill its mission of education, research, and service. The University has therefore developed an Alcohol and Drug-Free Campus and Workplace Policy.

Every year the University is required by the federal government to advise you of the University’s alcohol and drug policy. Detailed information about University regulations, state and federal laws, health effects, impacts of violations, and campus resources is available in the full document located at  A summary of the key points of the Alcohol and Drug Information document is below.

Executive Memorandum No. C-44 Alcohol and Drug-Free Campus and Workplace Policy:

Compliance with this policy is considered a condition of employment and attendance at the University.

This policy applies to all students, employees, and invitees, as defined in Section 111 of the policy, except those regulated under federal or state drug laws to the extent that the policy conflicts with such laws.

Prohibited conduct regarding alcohol, controlled substances, prescription drug use, employee treatment programs, workplace inspection, impaired job performance, testing procedures, and other misconduct is outlined in the policy in Section 1V.

Consequences for engaging in prohibited conduct are outlined in Section V of the policy.  

State and Federal Laws:

All Purdue employees are responsible for complying with local, state and federal laws regarding alcohol. For a complete listing of the current alcoholic beverage laws, consult the Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Laws at Copies of this document are available for examination at the Purdue University Police Department, (765) 494-8221.

Drugs other than alcohol can also create legal risks for employees. The Controlled Substances Act regulates drugs that have been declared by the Attorney General to have abuse potential. Such drugs include marijuana, hashish, or hash oil, cocaine, LSD, and other hallucinogens, barbiturates and other sedative-hypnotics, amphetamines and other prescription stimulants, MDMA (ecstasy), PCP and similar drugs.

Health Effects:

The health risks associated with the use or abuse of alcohol and drugs can be severe and long term. Please visit for detailed information listed in the Alcohol and Drug Information document. 

Campus Resources:

Help is available to employees on all campuses for dependency-related problems. Please contact WorkLife Programs Employee Assistance at (765) 494-5461.

National or Independence Days around the World

  • Nov   9 - Cambodia-Independence Day
  • Nov 11 - Angola-National Day

Calendar: 11/7

Spring 2012

Kudos: 11/7 ENE researchers on the publication of four papers of the eight included in the Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 100, No. 4 (October issue):

  • Senay Purzer: “Relationship between team discourse, self-efficacy and individual achievement
  • Odesma Dalrymple (a graduate of our PhD program, now a faculty member at Arizona State University), David Sears, and Demetra Evangelou: “Motivational and transfer potential of disassemble/analyze/assemble activities”
  • Tao Hong, Senay Purzer and Monica Cardella:A psychometric re-evaluation of the DET survey
  • Jo Walther, Nadia Kellam, Nicola Sochacka (all from University of Georgia) and David Radcliffe:Engineering competencies? Engineering student’s professional formation
To suggest content for future issues of ENE Memo, contact David Radcliffe or Lisa Tally by midday Friday for the following week's issue.