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ENE Memo: September 7, 2015

From the Head: 9/7

Celebrating Interdependence Day

As we all enjoy this break from work thanks to the Labor Day holiday, it is fitting that we reflect with gratitude upon the many ways we benefit from the efforts of those who came before us and those around us today on whom we depend for our personal success.

While we regularly celebrate the individual successes of students, staff and faculty, we seldom stop to appreciate just how much these achievements depend upon the contributions and support of many others. A 4.0 GPA is not simply the result of natural ability and hard work on the part of a solo student. It is founded on the emotional, intellectual and financial support of their family, their friends, their teachers, their schools and the community more generally, over many years.

Similarly an award winning faculty owes an enormous debt to all those who made their success possible. This includes their many colleagues and peers who made contributions; their graduate students over the years who carried out much of the research; the technical, administrative and clerical staff who, directly or indirectly, enabled their work to be carried out as well as those who supported and mentored them over a lifetime. Paradoxically the academy is seemingly a place that thrives on individual achievement, yet this is only possible because the individual works in a highly interdependent and supportive community. 

Staff in the academy tend not to receive the level of appreciation they deserve for all they do, often in the background, to help make students and faculty shine. Nevertheless they too need to recognize that their ability to perform at a high level depends upon the opportunities afforded by faculty and the very existence of institution, and the work of many others who came before.

In short, each of us is deeply reliant upon others, past and present, for what we achieve in the academy. This mutual interdependence means we should recognize and take very seriously our reciprocal responsibilities. Being a member of an academic community carries with it certain moral obligations that go well beyond our narrow, transactional roles as either student or employee.

Nowhere is this paradox of individual achievement and mutual interdependence more difficult to understand than in graduate school. A PhD student is expected to accomplish an original piece of research that is their work. However this individual achievement is simply not feasible without the mentoring of their advisor (major professor), the multi-faceted support of their committee, the enablement of their research group, the physical, administrative and wider intellectual underpinning of their department and the wider institution.

Undertaking a PhD is a team sport, not a solo performance. It is like the high performing athlete who is an individual competitor. Their success on the track is highly dependent on the work of the team that supports them; their coach, their training partners, the medical staff, their financial sponsors, and indeed their competitors. Even though an athlete may have been extraordinarily successful at high school or college, they understand that to be successful at the elite level they still have much to learn. They must be willing to accept the discipline and interdependent commitment of being part of a support network that alone can teach them what it really takes to succeed.

Irrespective of their background, their past achievements or the knowledge and skills they bring to back to school, graduate students are apprenticing into a community of research practice. There is much to learn. There are new ways of thinking and working to master. There is a unique collegial work culture to embrace. It takes time, patience and humility to acquire a subtle understanding of any field and a respectful appreciation of its history, characters, mores and practices. And much, much more.

Graduate school is a unique work environment; you are part-student, part-employee. Sometimes your advisor is your mentor and sometimes they are your employer. Yet the unstated expectation is that as a grad student you are fully committed to the singular goal of undertaking your studies leading to your degree. This is more than a fulltime job! Not only do you depend upon your support team, but they depend upon you. Career progression of faculty is directly linked to the success of their graduate students, especially in decisions on tenure and promotion. There is much more at stake as people move through grad school than the immediate concerns of the individual graduate student.

An Op-Ed over the summer by David Brooks of the New Your Times on the Structure of Gratitude, argues that we would do well to have a disposition that is grateful, deeply appreciative, of the people and environments on which we depend. Here are a few extracts:

We live in a capitalist meritocracy. This meritocracy encourages people to be self-sufficient — masters of their own fate. But people with dispositional gratitude are hyperaware of their continual dependence on others. They treasure the way they have been fashioned by parents, friends and ancestors who were in some ways their superiors. They’re glad the ideal of individual autonomy is an illusion because if they were relying on themselves they’d be much worse off.

The basic logic of the capitalist meritocracy is that you get what you pay for, that you earn what you deserve. But people with dispositional gratitude are continually struck by the fact that they are given far more than they pay for — and are much richer than they deserve. Their families, schools and summer camps put far more into them than they give back. There’s a lot of surplus goodness in daily life that can’t be explained by the logic of equal exchange.

We live in a capitalist meritocracy that encourages individualism and utilitarianism, ambition and pride. But this society would fall apart if not for another economy, one in which gifts surpass expectations, in which insufficiency is acknowledged and dependence celebrated.

Labor Day celebrates individual effort and collective action. Being part of something bigger than ourselves is deeply motivating. It provides purpose and meaning beyond what we can achieve on our own.


Kudos: 9/7

to Allison Godwin on being awarded a grant worth $287,532 from NSF titled "Collaborative Research: Building Supports for Diversity through Engineering Teams. Congratulations!

News and Information: 9/7

ASEE 2016 Abstract Submissions Open

The abstract submission phase for the 2016 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition being held in New Orleans, LA is open. The deadline to submit your abstract is October 19, 2015.

The Call for Papers for the various divisions are available at

Sunday Workshop and Distinguished Lecture applications are also available between September 1st and November 2, 2015. These can be accessed by clicking this link and logging in

Faculty Positions at Cal Poly Pomona

Cordelia Ontiveros, the Associate Dean of Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona, and Angela Shih, the chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department, will be visiting Purdue on Tuesday, Sept. 29th. Cal Poly Pomona is a teaching intensive, undergraduate school in the greater LA area. They are recruiting for 10 tenure track faculty positions in 7 departments with Fall 2016 start dates. They will be making a presentation from 12-1pm in POTR 234.  Cal Poly Pomona will be recruiting faculty for the next several years, so students who still have some time before graduation may also benefit from the presentation. If you plan to attend, please RSVP so they can estimate of amount of food to order.

Purdue Student Leadership Initiative Faculty Fellow and University Residences Senior Faculty Fellow

The Office of the Provost in conjunction with the Vice Provost for Student Life is seeking nominations and applications for the Purdue Student Leadership Initiative (PSLI) Faculty Fellow and Faculty Fellow Chair positions.

These positions have been created to enrich the student experience outside the classroom. PSLI is charged to work with stakeholders to prepare student leaders for the challenges of moving the world forward. University Residences Senior Faculty Fellow will lead the Faculty Fellow program in University Residences.

The selection committee for the PSLI position is headed by Jim Hintz, Director of Purdue Student Leadership Initiative and Assistant to the Vice Provost for Student Life, and the selection committee for the University Residences Senior Faculty Fellow is headed by Carl Krieger, Director of Residential Life.

Please send applications electronically to the Office of the Provost ( ) with “PSLI Faculty Fellow Application” or “University Residences Senior Faculty Fellow Application” as the subject line. Applications are due Monday, September 21, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. The application is to include:

  • A letter specifying a philosophy of college student leadership development with a summary of the applicant’s relevant expertise and experience.
  • Current curriculum vitae.
  • A letter of endorsement from the applicant’s department head (or dean if the applicant is a department head).

Be Aware: Parking Garages to charge $10 on game days

The Northwestern Avenue and University Street garages will be reserved for those who buy a game day parking pass in advance online at Those who go online should log in with their Purdue career account or create a guest account and buy a pass for the Northwestern Avenue or University Street garage, print it out and place it on their vehicle’s dash before arriving at the garages. Parking passes also will be available for purchase on game days at the entrance to the garages.

On game days, ONLY faculty and staff who have numbered, reserved parking spaces in those garages will be allowed entrance into the garages. All other regular Purdue parking permit holders will need to buy event parking passes if entering the garages prior to kickoff.

Calendar: 9/7


  • Sept 7: Labor Day
  • Sept 9: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:30am, WANG 3501
  • Sept 10: ENE Research Seminar, 3:30-4:20pm, ARMS 1109 
  • Sept 16: ENE Advance Follow-Up, 9:30-11:30am, WANG 3501
  • Sept 19: Family Day Open House, Purdue Mall (tent will be located on raised lawn near MSEE) 12:30-2:30pm
  • Sept 30: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-10:30am, WANG 3501
  • Sept 30: Associate Professors meet with Head, 10:30-11:30, WANG 3501
  • Oct 4/5: Big Ten + Grad Expo
  • Oct 12/13: Fall Break
  • Oct 16: ENE Staff Meeting, 8:30-9:30am, WANG 3501
  • Oct 28: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:30am, WANG 3501
  • Oct 28/29: ENE Grad Program Open House
  • Nov 4: ENE Advance Follow-Up, 9:30-11:30, WANG 3501
  • Nov 7: Homecoming
  • Nov 12: ENE Interdisciplinary Engineering Colloquium, 3:30-5pm, ARMS Atrium
  • Nov 13: ENE Industrial Advisory Council, 8:00am-3pm, WANG 3501
  • Nov 18: Faculty-PhD Student Matching, 9:30-11:30, WANG 3501
  • Nov 26/27: Thanksgiving
  • Dec 2: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:30am, WANG 3501
  • Dec 20: Commencement
  • Dec 22: Grades Due

Spring 2016

  • Jan 4: Faculty return
  • Jan 11: Classes begin
  • Jan 15: Staff Meeting, 8:30-9:30 am, WANG 3501
  • Jan 18: Martin Luther King Day
  • Jan 20: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • Jan 27: Assistant Professors meet with Head, 9:30-10:30 am, WANG 3501
  • Feb 3, Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • Feb 10: Associate Professors meet with Head, 9:30-10:30 am, WANG 3501
  • Feb 17: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • Feb 24: Faculty Meeting 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • Feb 24: ENE Outstanding Alumni Awards
  • March 9: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • March 14/19: Spring Break
  • March 30: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • April 11/12: ENE Industrial Advisory Council
  • April 21: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • April 30: Classes end
  • May 4: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • May 10: Grades Due
  • May 13/15: Commencement

Funding Opportunities: 9/7

National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program in Education Research

The NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program seeks to encourage a new generation of scholars from a wide range of disciplines and professional fields to undertake research relevant to the improvement of education. These $27,500 fellowships support individuals whose dissertations show potential for bringing fresh and constructive perspectives to the history, theory, or practice of formal or informal education anywhere in the world. Fellows will also attend professional development retreats and receive mentorship from NAEd members and other senior scholars in their field. This highly competitive program aims to identify the most talented emerging researchers conducting dissertation research related to education. The Dissertation Fellowship program receives many more applications than it can fund. This year, up to 600 applications are anticipated and up to 35 fellowships will be awarded. Additional guidelines and the fellowship application form are available on our website.
Deadline to apply: October 1, 2015

National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in Education Research

The NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program supports early-career scholars working in critical areas of educational scholarship. Fellows will receive $70,000 for one academic year of research, or $35,000 for each of two contiguous years, working half time. Fellows will also attend professional development retreats and receive mentorship from NAEd members and other senior scholars in their field. Applicants must have had their PhD, EdD, or equivalent research degree conferred between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2014. This fellowship is non-residential, and applications from all disciplines are encouraged. Up to 30 NAEd/Spencer Fellowships will be awarded. Additional guidelines and the fellowship application form are available on our website.
Deadline to apply: November 5, 2015

Selected Funding Opportunities:

Purdue upcoming internal funding deadlines The Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships offers several internal funding opportunities to support researchers at Purdue. This is a list of upcoming proposal deadlines and links to program descriptions.

NSF EarthCube: Enterprise Governance – Science Support Office for a Community-Driven Data and Knowledge Environment for the Geosciences This solicitation seeks the services of a qualified organization to provide a science support office for EarthCube governance. This organization will provide the services required to maintain and manage the community governance structures and support the activities articulated within the EarthCube Governance Framework documents. Deadline: December 14

NSF Dear Colleague Letter: Self-Monitoring and Self-Assessing Intelligent Systems Research for the CISE/IIS Robust Intelligence Core Program The Robust Intelligence core program within the IIS division welcomes proposals (as part of the existing RI program solicitation) that advance self-monitoring, self-assessment, self-repair, and user interaction to ensure that intelligent systems behave as intended. Deadlines vary by project class.

USDA-USFS National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost-Share Grant Program This RFP aims to address the following priority issues: 1) Analysis and Solutions for Development and Redevelopment Impacts on Urban and Community Forests, 2) Building Human Health Through Urban and Community Forestry, and 3) Climate Change and Its Impact on Trees and Water. This program requires a 1:1 cost share match. Pre-proposals due November 23; Invited full proposals due March 15.

Google Faculty Research Awards The intent of the Google Research Awards is to support cutting-edge research in Computer Science, Engineering, and related fields. The following research areas are supported in 2015: Computational neuroscience; Geo/maps; Human-computer interaction; Information retrieval, extraction, and organization; Machine learning and data mining; Machine perception; Machine translation; Mobile; Natural language processing; Networking; Physical Interfaces and Immersive Experiences; Privacy; Security; Software engineering and programming languages; Speech; Structured data and database management; and Systems (hardware and software). Deadline: October 15.

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation The Foundation is interested in projects that it expects will result in a strong benefit to society, and for which funding from other sources is not widely available. The following initiatives are among those funded: Public Understanding of Science and Technology; STEM Research; STEM Higher Education; Public Understanding of Science, Technology, & Economics; Digital Information Technology; Energy and Environment; and Economics. The Foundation accepts Letters of Intent on an ongoing basis.

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: NIH Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (R25) The goal of this NIGMS R25 program is to support educational activities that enhance the diversity of the biomedical, behavioral and clinical research workforce. To this end, this funding opportunity announcement encourages the development of creative educational activities with a primary focuses on research experiences, courses for skills development and mentoring activities. Only one application is allowed per institution.

Anticipated Funding Opportunities:

These solicitations are anticipated to be released soon based on the timing of previous solicitations for the program or notices of intent to publish. We are posting this information to help with proposal planning efforts but please keep in mind that the release dates and/or scope of a solicitation can change from year-to-year so be sure to read the solicitation carefully once it is released.

Air Force Technology Transfer Pilot Project The call requesting white papers for this topic is anticipated to be published in mid-September 2015 at

DOE Notice of Intent to Issue FOA: Solutions to Improve the Energy Efficiency of U.S. Small and Medium Commercial Buildings DOE plans to issue the FOA in or around the last calendar quarter in 2015.


EVPRP Workshop: Developing Grant Proposals Writing a proposal may seem like an overwhelming and confusing task. This workshop, presented by the EVPRP grant writers, will provide you with strategies and tools to improve your grantsmanship and point you to unique resources at Purdue that can help make your grant writing process less stressful and more successful. We will cover topics such as: Where to go for help; Developing a compelling storyline; Responding to a solicitation; Identifying win differentiators; and Writing with reviewers in mind. The workshop will be held on September 22nd from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm in STEW 214CD. Lunch will be provided so registration is required at the link above by Thursday, Sept. 17th.

REMINDER: EVPRP Workshop: NIH Overview: Institute/Center Mission and Strategies The EVPRP is hosting a series of three luncheon workshops designed to address various aspects of developing proposals to the National Institutes of Health. Perry Kirkham, project coordinator in the EVPRP and former NIH program officer, is the principal presenter for these workshops. The first of these workshops, NIH Overview: Institute/Center Mission and Strategies, is scheduled for Tuesday, September 8, at 11:30AM-1:00PM, Stewart Center, room 310. This workshop will provide an overview and an update on the various institutions of the NIH. Knowledge and familiarity with NIH institutes can be a tremendous advantage during the writing, submission and post-review phases of your submission. We will address the individual institute missions and plans, as well as possible funding mechanisms and how to position yourself for a successful NIH-funding career. As lunch is provided, registration is required by tomorrow, Thursday, September 3.

NSF Dear Colleague Letter: Special Guidelines for Submitting Collaborative Proposals in Renewable Energy under the NSF/CBET – U.S.-Israel BSF International Opportunity

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.