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Extraordinary People, Global Impact: Strategic Plan Update 

October 2012

We are now squarely in the implementation phase of the College of Engineering’s 2009-2014 strategic plan, “Extraordinary People, Global Impact.” The initial launch took shape around twelve “First Actions.” These specific initiatives grew out of widespread engagement of the College’s faculty, staff, students, alums, and friends in developing roadmaps that would guide us in achieving the vision and goals of the plan. Many of these First Actions have become realities, and new thrusts have come online.


Strategic Initiatives


creating and sustaining the human, intellectual, and information infrastructure to connect people and Purdue for life.

Purdue’s Engineer of 2020

From 2008 to 2011, twenty Engineer of 2020 seed grants supported development of new frameworks, courses, case studies, assessment methodologies, and infrastructure in support of the Engineer of 2020 attributes. Most of the seed grants resulted in new collaborations among faculty throughout the College of Engineering and dissemination of results via conferences and engineering education journals. Several grants led to follow-on funding from external funding agencies such as NSF.

In addition, a series of faculty workshops was held, each focusing on specific Engineer of 2020 attributes or overarching themes for engineering education, including leadership, innovation, ethics, sustainability, entrepreneurship, and safety. 

Focus has now shifted to curriculum integration, dissemination of the results from the seed grants, and college-wide assessment of the Engineer of 2020 attributes.  

Thanks go to Jim Jones (Mechanical Engineering) and Peter Meckl (Mechanical Engineering) for several years of leadership. Mike Harris, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, has the helm in the curriculum integration phase of Engineer of 2020 effort.

Leadership Minor 

The leadership minor will be an elective program coupling leadership theory with practice opportunities leading to a certificate that is recorded on an undergraduate student’s transcript. Guided by faculty mentors, students create a personal leadership development plan, take courses on leadership concepts, peer mentor younger students, and create a portfolio of their leadership experiences.

With all academic approvals now in place, this initiative transitioned to the sustainable implementation stage in July 2012. Monica Cox (Engineering Education) has been appointed the Inaugural Director of the College of Engineering Leadership Minor. Monica will finalize logistics for the minor and begin recruiting the first cohort of students and faculty coaches this fall. Educational outcomes from the Leadership Minor will become a part of the Engineer of 2020 assessment.

Thanks go to Beth Holloway (Women in Engineering Program) and Inez Hua (Civil Engineering) for their leadership of the First Action team. 

Professional Master’s

Fall 2012 saw the launch of the first pilot under the Professional Master’s initiative. Aimed at newly graduated engineering students, the pilot is designed around combining engineering and business. The degree is administered through Engineering Professional Education; Purdue Engineering disciplines are providing the technical content; the Office of Professional Practice is supporting students with graduate co-op experiences; Engineering Professional Education is providing the infrastructure for marketing, recruiting, registration, and for the online learning during the co-op work period; and the Krannert School of Management, along with other MBA programs, is providing the business content.

The university has adopted a new financial model that supports non-traditional, on-campus, and hybrid master’s degree programs, providing a higher return of the revenues to the developing units. A number of schools in the College are currently developing professional master’s programs under this framework. Future plans are to develop professional master’s degrees that integrate engineering topics with areas such as government regulation and policy, law, and intellectual property and innovation.

Dale Harris (Engineering Professional Education) and Audeen Fentiman (Nuclear Engineering, Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Interdisciplinary Programs) lead the Professional Master’s initiative.

Innovation Design Center

The IDC (formerly the Student Projects Building) is being designed in collaboration with the College of Technology and College of Liberal Arts, to provide students with hands-on invent-design-build-display space for curricular and extracurricular projects. University approvals have been obtained and fundraising for the 17,300 square foot, $18.5M Phase 1 building is underway, with an inaugural gift of $250,000 from the Purdue Engineering Student Council. The building, which will be on the corner of Third and Russell Streets, is expected to open in 2015.

Thanks go to Engineering co-leads Vince Bralts (Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Associate Dean for Resource Planning and Management) and Donna Ahlen (College of Engineering Facilities Manager).


… reshaping our research universe and bringing solutions to the globe.

Next Generation Manufacturing

Building on the renewed national interest in manufacturing, the Next Generation Manufacturing initiative was added to the strategic plan portfolio in 2011. It is bringing together faculty and staff from academic and engagement homes across Purdue, including Engineering, Technology, Krannert, Pharmacy, Agriculture, Technology Extension, the Technical Assistance Program (TAP), and ManufacturingHUB. This team is developing a Purdue manufacturing research roadmap, hosted a Manufacturing Summit in May 2012, and, with workforce development partners Ivy Tech, Vincennes, and Purdue-Calumet, has proposed the statewide Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness (IN-MaC) Center. IN-MaC is envisioned as a university-industry-state partnership to ensure Indiana’s competiveness in manufacturing via technology transfer to enhance competitiveness, research to support innovation, and education and workforce development and training.

Leads are John Sutherland (Environmental and Ecological Engineering), Abhi Deshmukh (Industrial Engineering), Nate Hartman (Computer Graphics Technology), and George Shanthikumar (Krannert).

Purdue Systems Institute

The long-term goal of the Purdue Systems Initiative (formerly Systems of Systems) is to launch an institute to lead the transformative research needed to define the underlying science of large, complex systems composed of humans and engineered artifacts.  Many societal needs (e.g., transportation, healthcare, defense, energy) and industry problems are addressed by collections of independently operating, yet collaborating systems. However, with no defined science and frameworks, there are no clearly rigorous and repeatable principles, methods, processes, and tools to help design, plan, and operate these large, complex systems. By bringing together researchers from diverse application domains, as well as modelers and theoreticians from engineering and science disciplines, the Purdue Systems Institute will tackle the challenge of building such a framework. Near-term milestones include building the knowledge community at Purdue, engaging top colleagues from other institutions, validating the initiative through external support, and growing systems courses and curriculum content to introduce students to interdisciplinary systems thinking so that these students can appreciate and embed this thinking to solve large, complex systems problems that lead to many societal benefits.

Leads are Abhi Deshmukh (Industrial Engineering), Doug Adams (Mechanical Engineering), Bill Crossley (Aeronautics & Astronautics), Dan DeLaurentis (Aeronautics & Astronautics), Joe Pekny (Chemical Engineering), and Satish Ukkusuri (Civil Engineering).

Colombia-Purdue Institute for Advanced Scientific Research (CPIASR)

The vision for CPIASR evolved from the integration of several complementary strategic plan roadmapping threads calling for direct engagement with foreign and US governments, universities, Purdue alums, and the private sector to maximize Purdue’s global impact and benefit all stakeholders. With an initial focus on Colombia in Latin America, the CPIASR took shape after agreements were signed between Purdue, Colciencias (the Colombian Science Foundation), and the Ministry of Education, culminating in an official meeting between Colombian President Santos and a Purdue delegation.

CPIASR (a) implements a customized PhD program through which a pipeline of high-caliber students supported by Colciencias in priority areas return to Colombia as entrepreneurs and academic, industry, and community leaders,  (b) facilitates scientific collaborations between Purdue and Colombian faculty, and (c) promotes discovery and innovation through focused workshops and cyberinfrastructure.

CPIASR is providing valuable insights and experience as we explore what it means to have “global impact.” Some successes are highlighted here:

  • In August 2012, Purdue welcomed the first cohort of 14 Colombian PhD students – in engineering, science, and agriculture – half with support from Colciencias. For 2013, more than 20 Colciencias doctoral fellows have been approved for Purdue. Faculty interested in recruiting and advising students in the next cohort should contact Susan Fisher, Director of Engineering Graduate Recruitment (, Juan Diego Velásquez (, or Arvind Raman (
  • Several workshops have been organized, with support from NSF, Colombian universities, government agencies, and the public/private sector.
  • Colombian companies are considering the Purdue Research Park as a U.S. home; Indiana companies are seeking opportunities in Colombia. 
  • Memoranda of Understanding have been signed with 12 universities and public and private sector entities.
  • Purdue is partnering in the development of Colombia’s first National Nanotechnology Center and supercomputing infrastructure.
  • Several EPICS and Global Design Team projects in energy and water are under way.

Leads are Jean-Paul Allain (Nuclear Engineering), Morris Levy (Biology), Arvind Raman (Mechanical Engineering), and Jeff Stuart (Entomology). Juan Diego Velásquez is the project’s managing director.

Research Galaxies

The vision for the Research Galaxies initiative is to put researchers at the center of a galaxy of support functions. Phase 1, which transitioned to a sustainable implementation stage in April 2012, focuses on post-award support, with the goal of providing immediate flexible staffing, increasing long-term operational support by sharing key administrative staff, and supporting a full spectrum of needs including financial management, mentoring, external relations, and reporting. In partnership with the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), Phase I pilots are under way. New operations managers and research portfolio managers are providing support to research groups selected for the size and complexity of their research portfolios, to understand what services are common to all/most, as well as to learn what tailored services might add value. Phase 2 will expand staffing and supported research groups.

Thanks go to Melba Crawford (Civil Engineering, Agronomy, Associate Dean for Research) and Tonya Yoder (Engineering Financial Affairs) on the successful launch of the Post-Award effort.


… building an innovation ecosystem and nurturing a culture of creativity that takes us far beyond where we are today.

Innovation Ecosystem

The Innovation Ecosystem team had a very exciting 2011, preparing a broadly interdisciplinary proposal to position Purdue as the best site for an Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination. Purdue was one of two proposers selected for a site visit; sadly, the final nod went to UC-San Diego. Collaborations forged in the proposal effort have continued in the form of cross-college lectures and seminars, and elements of the core concept of creating a web of connections between Purdue and practitioners are taking shape through the Entrepreneurship Task Force and the Silicon Valley Boiler Innovation Group (SV BIG).

Barrett Caldwell (Industrial Engineering/Indiana Space Grant Consortium) and Robin Adams (Engineering Education) provided superb leadership in the Clarke effort. Joe Pekny (Chemical Engineering) and Judy Nohadani are advancing the Entrepreneurship Task Force.

Purdue Enterprise Company

PEC, LLC started as an engineering pilot to help faculty connect with external opportunities for consulting in their areas of expertise. Launched in 2010 in the Purdue Research Park, its reach quickly expanded campus-wide. PEC operates using a fee-based structure that provides services to generate leads, match appropriate expertise with problems presented, and assist with other contract-related logistics.  By September 2012, more than 800 companies were contacted, resulting in more than 300 leads for potential faculty consulting. This team has found that of those leads that were converted to contracts, a promising number request follow-up work and/or new research contracts. PEC has also found employment opportunities for Purdue students and recent graduates!

Leads: Bob Davis and Judy Nohadani.


… engaging our people to transform our culture, empowering our people to radiate passion, and energizing the people of Purdue Engineering to change the world.

New Faculty Learning Community

The goal of the New Faculty Learning Community initiative is to accelerate the development of skills characteristic of successful teachers and researchers. Two major events were piloted last year. (1) A series of lunch topics spread across the fall and spring semesters addressed specific areas of interest to new faculty, including how to recruit graduate students, how to navigate the campus research infrastructure, insights on developing relationships with senior faculty, and promotion and tenure. The series was capped off with a celebratory community-building dinner of the group. (2) Internationally known expert Dr. Richard Felder, Hoechst Celanese Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University, led a workshop designed to introduce new faculty to active learning classroom strategies and a second workshop for senior faculty to develop effective mentoring practices. Both the lunch discussions and the Felder workshops will be repeated in 2012-13.

Leads: Klod Kokini (Mechanical Engineering, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs), Monica Prezzi (Civil Engineering), and Dan Jiao (Electrical & Computer Engineering).

Promotion & Tenure Evolution

Professional development and career planning for senior faculty is common practice at many outstanding universities worldwide.  This team is evolving ideas about how we can enhance faculty professional development, job satisfaction, performance, and enable flexibility in developing career paths. In 2012-13, Engineering will pilot a “Celebration of Faculty Careers” under which faculty will present a colloquium on their achievements and plans to their peers, followed by a planning discussion with the Dean and their Head of School, on a regular seven year cycle. 

Leads: Jim Litster (Chemical Engineering) and Monika Ivantysynova (Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Mechanical Engineering).

Staff of 2020

The Staff of 2020 team is actively engaging College staff to identify issues and recommend processes and practices that will improve staff development and advancement.  Two online surveys identified three initial focus areas: staff awards and recognition, professional development, and career paths for staff. More than 60 staff members across the College, representing a variety of job classifications, are currently involved in developing recommendations and actions in the three focus areas. To participate in the Staff of 2020 activities, contact one of the team leads.

Leads: George Adams (ManufacturingHUB;, David Bowker (Engineering Recruiting,, Will Sondgerath (College of Engineering,

Influencers in Residence

The Influencers in Residence initiative strives to inspire faculty to go from excellence to leadership in learning, discovery, and engagement by bringing prominent and highly influential thought leaders from industry, government, academia, and the private sector to campus for extended stays to coach, interact, and collaborate with faculty, staff, and students. For its initial effort, the team identified the Purdue Neurotrauma Group (PNG) as a Purdue research effort that would benefit significantly from a high-profile external expert or visionary, e.g., an influencer who could help researchers leverage early successes in both research findings and media visibility. PNG has been featured in Sports Illustrated, CNN, and other national and regional media. The work performed by PNG is gaining in credibility with investors, who are interested in how to design helmets to protect the human brain from multiple small impacts, as well as single major impacts to the head from football and battlefield events. Potential influencers are being identified.

Leads: Steve Beaudoin (Chemical Engineering). Eric Nauman (Mechanical Engineering) was invited to join the leadership team when the PNG research was identified as a pilot for the Influencers initiative.  

Diversity Certification

The goal of the Diversity Certification initiative is to help foster a culture where faculty, staff, and students weave an understanding of important diversity and inclusion issues, including discrimination, prejudice, and stereotypes, into their everyday thinking and behavior. The implementation is built around learning and assessment modules initially modeled after the CITI Responsible Conduct of Research and Institutional Review Board (IRB) certifications. Eight modules are under construction, built on research-based principles around diversity and inclusion. Modules are being beta-tested and refined internally before piloting to a broader community of Purdue faculty and staff. 

Leads: Dulcy Abraham (Civil Engineering) and Patrice Buzzanell (Brian Lamb School of Communication, courtesy appointment in Engineering Education).


… building platforms for learning, discovery, engagement, and for our global reach.

HUB-Empowered CyberReach

The overarching goal of the HUB-Empowered CyberReach initiative is to create a best-in-class virtual footprint for Purdue Engineering. The launch project is a partnership with a Mechanical Engineering instructional team that is working on transforming two foundational courses – Dynamics and Statics – with support from Purdue’s IMPACT program. The HUB will support dynamic simulation of course concepts to enhance student learning. In parallel, the team is developing and incorporating new collaboration and teaming tools into the HUB platform for students to use as part of their Industrial Engineering senior design projects, and eventually for all engineering team-based design projects. This HUB-CI platform – Collaborative Intelligence through the HUB – aims to enable effective interactions and engagement across teams with industries and global communities of educators and students.

Leads: Shimon Nof (Industrial Engineering), Chuck Krousgrill (Mechanical Engineering), Gerry McCartney (ITaP), and Juan Diego Velásquez (Engineering Office of Strategic Planning).

Striving for Impact

We began the strategic planning process by asking, “What are your dreams?” This led to a strategic plan that challenges us to grow, to think differently, to celebrate and empower our people, and even to challenge some of the most basic foundations of our culture. Reflecting the broad community – literally hundreds of faculty, staff, students, alums, and friends – that helped shape the plan, our goals and initiatives cover a wide vista. As you can see, we are shaping our future in many ways. I once again thank all those who have brought us this far, and urge you, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “to be the change you want to see.”