From the Dean: July 2019

Dear Purdue Engineering Community,

Our amazing faculty, students and staff at Purdue Engineering reached yet another round of new heights in 2018-19 in many dimensions. Boilermakers continue to propel our College to the Pinnacle of Excellence at Scale. Over the past 12 months, we moved forward with the strategies of becoming the best at the interface between physical and virtual sides of engineering, innovating the education of a large pool of premier engineering talents, and empowering industry.

The team work comes from all the Schools/Divisions, Programs, Institutes/Centers and the College. With energizing optimism and humbling appreciation, we report a brief summary of this year 2018-19 (with 10 bullet points and not in a particular order):

1. Thanks to outstanding faculty leaders in the research enterprise, Purdue Engineering continued the NSF CISTAR and DARPA C-BRIC momentum from last year and won four highly competitive national centers this year, each at $10M or more: PULSE Consortium for global development (from USAID's LASER program) led by Arvind Raman in ME, Resilient Extra-Terrestrial Habitats Institute (from NASA STRI program) led by Shirley Dyke in ME/CE, High Assurance Compositional Cryptography (from IARPA) led by Milind Kulkarni in ECE, and TSMC-Purdue Center for Secured Microelectronics Ecosystems initiated by PRF and Pedro Irazoqui. As will be publicized soon, we also received the approval for the fastest hypersonic wind tunnel and the first fully digitized nuclear reactor in the nation. These are in addition to multiple other research centers launched internally. We won’t know the exact amount of research funding actually received in 2018-19 until later in July, but the number as of earlier in June already registered a record and reached over $200M for the first time. This represents an almost 40% jump in two years. More importantly, frontiers of research, in all forms and shapes, have been pushed forward by our faculty and their groups with high caliber and deep impact.

2. Thanks to our amazing instructors, advisers, TAs and students, we had another year of positive surprise in undergraduate yield rate. We continue to carry unique, land-grant responsibilities as the largest engineering college among nation’s top 10 while innovating for a large pool of premier engineering talents. Graduation rates also hit an all-time high, with more students participating in co-op or global exchanges than before. Data Mind graduation requirement will have gone through all engineering degrees next month, a certificate in Applications of Data Science has been approved, and an “Every Boiler-engineer Codes” co-curricular pilot has drawn strong student demand.

3. Thanks to the graduate education team, Ph.D. recruiting practice is being thoroughly updated, and the available number of Ph.D. Fellowships increased by 40% over the past year and half, including the naming of Gambaro Graduate Program in AAE. Professional Master’s degrees saw multiple new ones launched, and enrollment went up by a factor of 2.5. And for online badges, three are being rolled out, with nine more in the pipeline. Enrollment has gone up by more than 50% in spring, and we signed institutional arrangements with universities and corporate partners, such as NCKU in Taiwan and Cummins here in Indiana.

4. Thanks to the engineering development team and many generous donors, Purdue Engineering became the first public engineering school to raise more than $1B in a single campaign. As the Ever True Campaign concluded yesterday, we have received $1.025B (47% above the campaign target). This includes $209M in 2018-19, the first time we went above $200M in philanthropy as in research funding. On 2019 Purdue Day of Giving, with the 20.19-mile relay run, we again set a record of gifts on a single day, and Purdue Student Foundation Engineering again topped all student organizations.

5. Thanks to the facilities team and many supporters at the University, the 2017-2027 Engineering Space Plan was unveiled and is being realized rapidly. The Gateway Complex has its first building approved for construction and received both state budget approval and a naming gift from Bill and Marty Dudley. Gateway II has just been approved for construction too, after securing sufficient funding recently. The two buildings in Gateway Complex now lead to the largest academic facility on campus. A dozen other projects have been moving forward, providing space — often viewed as the most (internally) competitive resource — to every School in the College.

6. Thanks to friends across research, development, and PRF and to partners in industry and Indiana, Purdue Engineering empowered industry and contributed to economic development successes, such as Schweitzer Engineering Laboratory’s facility ground-breaking and the Saab facility announcement after a national competition, each creating hundreds of engineering jobs in or near the new Zucrow Aerospace District. The Indy 5G Zone was launched with IEDC and private sector partners. Entrepreneurship programs proliferated at Purdue and to Silicon Valley with our new Startup Co-Op Office, now under the umbrella of a new naming gift: John Martinson Engineering Entrepreneurship Center.

7. Thanks to the diversity and inclusion teams across the College, for the first time, we saw minority engineering students’ graduation rate exceed the aggregate average, as we re-dedicated the NSBE Key and recognized two major gifts to grow the minority engineering boot camp. This spring, Purdue Engineering graduated the largest number of women engineers, as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the nation’s first Women in Engineering Program. Talent pipeline and community for Hispanic and first-generation students have also become a focus point.

8. Thanks to Global Engineering teams, we saw a major increase in engagement with diverse regions of the world, especially Europe and Taiwan. The naming of the Shah Family Global Innovation Lab further enables global development. And the $70M USAID award, the largest single award to the College, provides a pivotal moment in the global impact of Purdue Engineering in developing countries.

9. Thanks to the teams on faculty and staff affairs, we launched the Staff Initiated Transformation 2.0 to reward and support staff colleagues across the College. While continuing the many programs on faculty development from last year, we also completed a thorough update of the promotion and tenure document to emphasize impact and de-prioritize “bean-counting.” Faculty award nominations and retention efforts have produced strong results.

10. Thanks to the communications and events teams, the past year has also been a record-setting year in the visibility of Purdue Engineering, with two recent articles generating over 280 million impressions. Incredible speakers for the Ideas Festival and Engineering 2169 series were highlights of the Purdue 150th Anniversary. New publicity material and communication channels were deployed, including the blog site Purdue Engineering Review “Engineering + X” and “Speak Engineering” have become two themes in our thought leadership in the country.

Recently, we welcomed new Headship in multiple Schools and several new Associate Deans, and thanked the contributions by their predecessors. With every day's hard work by each student, staff and faculty, we are excited to embark on the new FY of 2019-20, with "Purdue Engineering Initiatives" to position us as the best in the world at the virtual-physical engineering interface, with comprehensive undergraduate curriculum revamp in AAE, ECE, IE and ME as well as the intensifying growth of opportunities in GRIP (global, research, industry co-op and student projects), with the launch of virtual lab pilots and innovation in online affordable degrees, with concerted effort in faculty recruiting and retention, and with global alumni engagement during the Purdue 150th finale this October and College of Engineering 120th in 2020.

Boiler up, with all the small steps and giant leaps!


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

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