UT Tyler College of Engineering
Annual Report 2016 – 2017
Interim Dean - Dr. Michael J. McGinnis
McNally Civil Engineering Professor
The past academic year has been one of growth and change in the College of Engineering (COE). We are pleased to welcome Dr. Javier Kypuros as the fourth Dean of Engineering in the college’s 20 year history. Dr. Kypuros joins us from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where he served as the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. He is passionate about student success in engineering education, as evident from his two current projects funded by the National Science Foundation; one on an ecosystem for success in engineering and the other on social identities in engineering education and practice. He has also been funded for his research on dynamic systems and control by NASA and the Texas Space Grant Consortium. His passion and skill in the teaching arena are evinced by his recognition as a UT System Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award winner in 2014. We also welcomed three full time faculty to aid in managing major growth in undergraduate enrollment, including demonstrating sustainable growth at the Houston Engineering Center (HEC), our second campus home that opened in 2013. This year, the Civil engineering program had a graduating class of over 30% female. For the program, and engineering in general, this is a significant increase in the representation of women into the profession. The enrollment of the Construction Management program continues to increase and attract many seeking to gain advantage in the growing and very active construction/project management profession. The Department of Electrical Engineering received over $730K in both federal and industry research funding. In our Department of Mechanical Engineering, our faculty and students have continued to successfully collaborate with NASA to support training for the NASA Orion Spacecraft. I hope you enjoy reading about our activities this year, and don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or if you would like more information (email@example.com, 903-565-7040).
Enrollment and Educational Initiatives
The College of Engineering saw another year of significant growth, with total enrollment moving to 947 students in the fall of 2016, while also serving dual credit students (135) for the first time. Mechanical Engineering experienced particularly strong growth of 17.4%. The enrollment at HEC also successfully hit our growth target of 350 students in the fall of 2016. Although enrollment in our graduate programs in Civil, Mechanical and Electrical engineering programs, a new and innovative four-plus-one arrangement (where students can finish a B.S. and M.S. in engineering in a five year period) was initiated that is anticipated to positively impact our graduate programs moving forward.
One of the focus areas of the COE is in increasing access to engineering for all. In addition to our successful launch of HEC, which is meeting this need for students in Houston, one of our biggest educational initiatives this past year was in launching a dual credit Introduction to Engineering course (to partner with the popular Project Lead the Way High School engineering curriculum) for delivery to a statewide audience. We partnered with 12 high schools as part of this initiative, and we are expanding to a second course (Engineering Graphics) and 25 high schools in the fall of 2017.
Our Civil, Mechanical and Electrical undergrad programs were successfully accredited
by ABET in 2015, with next reviews scheduled for 2020 for re-accreditation
in 2021. Our Construction Management undergrad program was reviewed by the ABET Applied Science Accreditation Commission. Although official notification is scheduled for late August, preliminary indications are that the program will receive a positive determination from ABET.
This year has been a busy one for the college on this front. In research, we have recently identified five specific focus areas. Noted below are example projects and people who are currently exploring in these areas through external funding support:
Civil and Infrastructure: Dr. Mena Souliman has won awards and recognition for his work with Bike Lanes in Mid-Sized Cities, and his work in Behavior of Asphalt Pavements.
Electrical: Dr. Mukul Shirvaikar is partnering with researchers in Health and Kinesiology to improve the usefulness of bone scans through Image Processing and Pattern Recognition.
Energy and Sustainability: Dr. Michael McGinnis is partnered with the University of Notre Dame and New Mexico State University on an NSF funded project studying the impacts of Recycled Concrete Aggregates for use in Concrete.
Mechanical and Biomedical: Dr. Hassan El-Kishky and Dr. Shirvaikar are studying new Fuel Cell Technology.
Building Air Quality and Energy (BAQE) Center: Dr. Nelson Fumo is developing models to better predict net zero home energy use utilizing our UT System Core Facility in this area.
Numerous outreach activities dispersed across all departments in the college were conducted. Of particular note this year were our collaborations in support of Project Lead the Way (PLTW), our support of the annual MathCounts competition in February (where we hosted more than 15 K-12 mathematics teams on campus), and our “Engineering Takes Center Stage” Summer Camp in July 2017. In helping PLTW, we aided in judging different competitions and helped with training the next generation of K-12 engineering instructors. The camp, partially funded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, serves 25 8-10 grade students as we build excitement and enthusiasm for careers in engineering. Students tested concrete and timber members, built lifting and handling systems and bridges, explored soldering, circuit boards and programming, and had a blast during their time on campus in Tyler.
Our faculty group continues to grow and be recognized. We welcomed Andres Garcia, Tyler Hall and Tanya Larson as instructors in Mechanical Engineering at the Houston Engineering Center. Below, I have provided spotlights of the activities of two of our newer faculty: Dr. Mena Souliman in Civil Engineering, and Dr. Premanda Indic in Electrical Engineering. Dr. Indic is directing a research center that involves wearable sensor design and big data analytics for the prediction of life threatening events in humans. This research center received half a million dollar National Institute of Health grant for developing analytics using physiological signals from preterm infants at Neonatal Intensive Care Units. Ms. Apurupa Amperayani, a graduate student working in the center been invited to present her research work in the prestigious Computing in Cardiology Conference in Rennes, France. The center entered into research collaborative agreements with several premier universities and published three research papers in well-respected journals in the field. Dr. Souliman’s research interests include mechanical, mechanistic,
and economical analysis of sustainable pavement materials. He serves as a PI on a USDOT funded project, which also involves the Transportation Consortium of South Central States and other academic institutions within the UT System. With this and other projects, Dr. Souliman is managing over a quarter million dollars in externally funded research. Dr. Souliman is publishing his results in journals such as the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and ASCE Journal of Civil Engineering Materials.
It has been an exciting year for the student groups within the college. The ASCE Student Chapter’s entry to the Texas Mexico Student Conference Concrete Canoe competition garnered 2nd place with “Excaliboat” an homage to the days of King Arthur, and the Steel Bridge team 2017 design “Pocket Aces” earned them a fourth place among 21 teams competing in the event. The two teams had the highest combined ranking of any University in Texas or Mexico. Our Construction Management students Association (CMsA) submitted a competition project package for the National Home Builders Association annual conference and were selected to compete in Florida. Our IEEE chapter’s robotics team placed 5th (out of 11) at the Texas VEXU NBN Championships, losing in the semi-finals to eventual champion, UT Austin, and placed 8th of 32 teams that entered the competition at the IEEE R5 meet in Denver in April 2017. Two MENG seniors presented papers at the ASEE Gulf Southwest Conference at UT Dallas in March 2017, and an Honors MENG student presented a paper at the NCHC Conference in Seattle in October 2016.
As we seek to increase access to careers in engineering, we are expanding the state-wide dual credit offerings in engineering to include Engineering Graphics, doubling our offerings and our high school partners to 25. As graduate degrees are becoming ever more critical in today’ rapidly changing STEM fields, we have formalized and begun offering a new innovative 4+1 BS to MS program that will allow our best and brightest undergraduate students to earn a master’s degree with one additional year of schooling. Please look for more information in the coming weeks about these exciting initiatives.