From the Dean: December 2019

Dear Purdue Engineering Community,

I hope you all have had an enjoyable Thanksgiving. Now back on campus for the last two weeks of the semester, students are busier than ever. Mental health is an important part of campus life that Purdue Engineering hopes to emphasize and promote. Associate Deans for Undergraduate and for Graduate Education, Alina Alexeenko and Dana Weinstein, worked together with Purdue Engineering Student Council, Purdue Student Engineering Foundation, and Purdue Student Union Board, to launch the Surthriving Week that started yesterday. In particular, this Friday we hope will be the Unplugged Friday, when we all try to unplug from social media (and electronic devices are fine) for just one day. I will try my best too! The College is always eager to hear your ideas on other small steps we can take together to support mental health for all.

We also hope to report to you that the 10-year space master plan for our College continues to progress faster than planned. For example, in terms of space for teaching and learning, the new ABE building and the new BME wing will be completed next year for these two Schools, STEM Teaching Lab will provide opportunities for certain Chemical Engineering classes after next summer, and Gateway I and II (with construction scheduled to start next semester) and the resulting availability of space in Armstrong Hall will provide innovative learning labs for all the other eight Schools in the College. After serving as swing space during this intensive period of construction, Potter Hall will be renovated to become Gateway III, thereby completing the Gateway Complex and the flow of engineering buildings from that corner of the campus to the tip at Armstrong. At the same time, for research and for commercial use, Zucrow Aerospace District is planned to grow substantially. Part of these new facilities will also support the new faculty we are recruiting. Starting this ongoing AY, we anticipate 5-7 new faculty lines per year, in addition to replenishment hires, in the next few years, bringing our faculty number eventually to close to 500.

2020-1900 - 120 Small Steps to Engineering Excellence

The amazing people at Purdue Engineering: students, faculty, staff and alumni continue to live out the meanings of this land-grant institution in every small step we take each day. As the 150th anniversary of the University concludes, we hope to continue the momentum both in engaging with our alumni across the years and in demonstrating thought leadership nationally and globally. The College of Engineering here was created in 1900 (some Schools started earlier than that). Starting this month and into 2020, we will celebrate "120 Small Steps" and the Pinnacle of Excellence at Scale, through a small number of signature events showcasing the five Purdue Engineering Initiatives, monthly blogposts and podcasts by Schools and Divisions, and exciting multimedia content by alumni and for alumni. A website listing the activities will be available later this month.

In particular, next week, our College in partnership with Purdue University Press will announce Purdue Engineering OpenBytes: a growing set of high quality engineering textbooks and industry-based case studies that will be available online for free. We hope in future years and decades, anyone in the world aspiring to learn engineering will be introduced to the subjects through OpenBytes books and case studies, even when they cannot have the opportunity to study at Purdue. This idea was suggested by several faculty colleagues two years ago, and John Sutherland, Head of EEE and the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of OpenBytes, worked diligently and creatively with many parties involved to lift the idea off the ground. Another small step, along the winding journey where Purdue Engineering maximizes access and success of learning and innovates in the discovery and dissemination of knowledge.

Happy Holidays and Boiler up!


Mung Chiang
John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering
Purdue University