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ENE Memo: October 14, 2013

From the Head: 10/14

Director Designate, ENE Undergraduate Programs  

It is my pleasure to announce that Dr. Mary Pilotte is the Director Designate for the Undergraduate Programs in ENE. Professor Phil Wankat is the current Director, a role that is responsible for the Multidisciplinary Engineering and Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies degrees, amongst other things. Phil will continue as Director until next summer, when we expect the outcome of the ABET re-accreditation process to be finalized. During this interim, Mary will apprentice in the new role commencing with the ABET site visit next week.

As you will know, Phil is in a phased retirement process. Back in 2008, having very successfully steered the new MDE degree through its first accreditation cycle, he committed to continuing to direct our undergraduate programs up until its second accreditation cycle before he retired. Phil took over the interdisciplinary engineering program (as it was then) in 2000, making him only the third director in the 45-year history of this program. 

Mary was appointed as an associate professor of engineering practice in ENE this fall. Given the unique features of our undergraduate programs (MDE and IDES), including their interdisciplinary engineering heritage, Mary brings a unique combination of knowledge and skills that are ideally suited to the role of director. These include relevant leadership experience in industry, an MBA, and strong links to the Krannet management school, as well as a PhD in engineering education.

You will recall that ENE was formed in 2004 through the coming together of the then Department of Freshman Engineering and the Division of Interdisciplinary Engineering. It was an ideal combination given the inherently interdisciplinary nature of our graduate program, which began in 2005 and aligns with the First-Year Engineering Program being multidisciplinary in that it is inclusive of all types of engineering. Over the years, interdisciplinary engineering and now ENE have incubated four new B.S. degree program that have spun off to be part of other schools at Purdue: Nuclear Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and, most recently, Ecological and Environmental Engineering. It also has the unique feature of allowing students to design their own plan of study - to create a customized engineering degree to suit the individual. This history of innovation and discipline-defining is what ENE is about today.

So in many ways a more encompassing name for what our school does in FYE, in our undergraduate program and in our graduate program, might be Interdisciplinary Engineering Education


Calendar: 10/14

Fall 2013

  • Oct 14: TULIP - Student Teams (and dealing with dysfunctionality), ARMS 3001, 1:30-3pm
  • Oct 16: Faculty Conversation on Mentoring, ARMS B098 Innovation Studio, 9:30-11:30am 
  • Oct 18: Staff Meeting, 8:30-9:20am
  • Oct 20-22: ABET Site Visit
  • Oct 21-25: Green Week at Purdue (Think! No Impact)
  • Oct 28: TULIP - Cultural Diversity in the Classroom (FYE advisor Pouneh Eftekhari, who specializes in international students, will be joining us), ARMS 3001, 1:30-3pm
  • Oct 30:  Faculty Meeting, ARMS 1021 9:30-10:20am
  • Nov 8: Engineering Education Industrial Advisory Council (E2IAC) 
  • Nov 9: ENE Friends at the Football
  • Nov 13: Faculty Discussion: FYE Research, ARMS BO98B Innovation Studio 9:30-12:30 
  • Nov 14: Interdisciplinary Engineering Colloquium Celebrating 50 Years of Interdisciplinary Scholarship in Engineering Education at Purdue

Kudos: 10/14

.... to Krishna Madhavan, Mihaela Vorvoreanu, Niklas E. Elmqvist on a supplemental award from NSF of $128,820 for their project "Collaborative Research: Deep Insights Anytime, Anywhere (DIA2)" bringing the total funding to $1,405,711.

News and Information: 10/14

Update: Letter to the editor of ASEE Prism

A number of ENE faculty, students, and staff signed a letter to the editor of ASEE Prism in response to an earlier letter to the editor, titled "Is All Diversity Good?", that appeared in the magazine's September 2013 issue. The response didn't make it into the next issue, but for your reference, you can find it at

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