A newsletter for alumni, students, and friends of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Message From the Chair

Neil A. Duffie

I began my four-year term as Department Chair on July 1st, and I am proud to say that the Mechanical Engineering Building is still standing! From this new vantage point, I have rapidly grown to appreciate even more fully than before the quality of the faculty, staff and students in our Department and College. They are wonderful people who are doing exciting things. Some examples are reported in this newsletter, including the efforts of Professors Doug Reindl and Sanford Klein to help Chicago's Field Museum preserve their collections, Professor Frank Fronczak's who is developing an interdisciplinary senior "capstone" design course, Professor Marvin DeVries who has been elected 1999-2000 president of the International Institution for Production Research (CIRP), Professor Rolf Reitz has co-founded the new International Journal of Engine Research, senior Eric Weisbrod who presented his honors thesis at this year's Argonne Symposium, our Pi Tau Sigmachapter who successfully bid to host the 2001 National Convention in Madison, and our FutureCar team who won the national FutureCar Challenge for the second year in a row with their "Aluminum Cow" hybrid vehicle.

The next four years will be exciting and challenging ones for our Department. A significant percentage of our faculty are over age 60, and we have embarked on a vigorous strategic hiring effort that is designed to build our educational and research capabilities and excellence in theoretical and technological areas of importance in the next century. These include transportation systems, energy systems, computational methods, concurrent design and manufacturing, micromechanical systems, and biomechanical systems. Interdisciplinary faculty will be one key to success. Our undergraduate curriculum will also be the focus of significant attention as we move toward accreditation under ABET's new Engineering Criteria 2000 program with its emphasis on what students learn in the course of their program of studies as opposed to what they are presented in a curriculum. Institutions are thus required to have educational objectives and employ outcomes assessment techniques to determine the degree to which program goals and objectives are being obtained. The assessment, in turn, is used in an ongoing process of improving student learning through enhancements to the program.

We are looking forward very much to the future with its new technologies, collaboration with industry, growth in distance learning, and coming generation of "internet-ready" students. We have a new Dean, Paul Peercy, who brings valuable industrial experience to that position. We are modernizing our Department's administrative structure, a process that has begun with the addition of Ginger Freitag as our Financial Supervisor. A joint proposal has been made by ME, IE and the College that if successful would result in the remodeling of the ME Building which was build in the 1930s. Campus approval, State approval and fundraising will be important aspects of this effort to renovate classrooms, offices and laboratories that are inadequate by today's standards. We are thankful for the continued support of generous alumni who's gifts make many great things possible including funding of undergraduate scholarships, activities of our student organizations, and renovation of facilities crucial to quality education.

Personally, I am honored to have been elected by my colleagues as Chair of this great department. I look forward to communicating its accomplishments to you in future additions of this newsletter, and hope to hear from you about notable events in your lives.

ME Newsletter is a periodic publication of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Correspondence should be sent to the address below.

ME Newsletter
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1513 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706-1572

      Editor: Gail Gawenda

Designer: Lynda Litzkow

Last Modified: Monday, 24-Apr-2000 16:00:00 CDT

WINTER 2000 Contents