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Cover of the Winter 2008 issue


VOL. 34, NO. 2





A message from the dean

Dean Paul S. Peercy

Dean Paul S. Peercy (large image)

In early 2007, the COE 2010 Task Force solicited proposals from faculty and staff that address development, implementation, assessment and dissemination of projects that demonstrate major advances in providing a contemporary undergraduate engineering education.

In response to its request, the task force received an impressive 29 proposals from 128 collaborators with requested funding totaling $1.36 million. An eight-member committee of students, faculty and staff from across the college reviewed proposals and made recommendations to the 2010 Task Force. The following 11 pilot projects received funding. Many will begin this semester.

Reliability, risk and uncertainty: Professors Vicki Bier, Teresa Adams, Jake Blanchard and Mike Corradini are developing a new certificate program focusing on providing engineers and other students an in-depth exposure to modern methods for the analysis of reliability, risk and uncertainty.

Energy and sustainability course for energy certificate program: Professor Thatcher Root is leading a team in developing a high-level course focused on energy generation that will prepare engineering seniors to make quantitative comparisons between current and alternative processes.

Engineering and biology: Technological symbiosis: Professor David Beebe and colleagues are creating a cross-college introductory course that will explore and highlight ways in which biology and engineering can be successfully integrated.

Certificate in engineering for energy sustainability: Professors Giri Venkataramanan, Thomas Jahns, Michael Oliva and Tim Osswald are developing a suite of cross-cutting courses that span the engineering curriculum, addressing energy sustainability with firm roots in the “real world” design and engineering practices associated with participating disciplines.

Engineering problem solving with computers: Professors John Hoopes, Jim Rawlings and Greg Moses are creating three hybrid courses that share common curriculum related to specific software tools, but that use examples and exercises taken from specific engineering fields, to demonstrate the problem-solving or data-collection aspects of using the software.

Junior year abroad: To encourage students to study abroad in their junior year, Professors Neil Duffie and John Pfotenhauer and Associate Faculty Associate Traci Kelly are making three junior-level UW-Madison engineering courses available to all UW-Madison students studying abroad. The goal is to give students flexibility in satisfying curricular requirements while overseas and provide a model for replication.

Zhejiang university summer program: Technical Communications Director Laura Grossenbacher and Professor John Pfotenhauer are leading a team in developing a new eight-credit, eight-week summer study-abroad program (following the successful model of the Toulouse Summer Program) at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.

Integration of EPD 397 with two multidisciplinary engineering design courses: Laura Grossenbacher and Professors Frank Fronczak and Mike Oliva are developing a stepped, two-semester collaborative approach to teaching technical communication (EPD 397) in multidisciplinary, service-oriented design courses.

International genetically engineered machine (iGEM) competition: Professor Franco Cerrina and Biochemistry Professors Michael Sussman, Aseem Ansari and Doug Weibel established an interdisciplinary iGEM team to promote education and research in biological engineering. (Read more about this competition in an Infinity article in this issue of Perspective.)

Introduction to society’s engineering grand challenges: Professors Susan Hagness, Nicola Ferrier, Daniel Klingenberg, Kristyn Masters and Jeff Russell are creating a modular, introductory, cross-disciplinary course building on the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges project. Visit for more information.

Teaching and learning insights: Adjunct Assistant Professor Sandra Courter, Professor Pascale Carayon and the COE Climate and Diversity Committee have developed an electronic newsletter and web archive to answer instructors’ questions about diversity, advising and teaching. Visit

Paul S. Peercy, Dean

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