MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
s you can see in the accompanying photograph, the addition to the Mechanical Engineering Building is really beginning to take shape. We anticipate occupying the addition next summer and beginning the process of bringing back into one building our faculty and laboratories that are temporarily scattered throughout the engineering campus. Next fall, we hope to hold some classes in the new addition as the next phase of this project begins: renovation of the interior of the original building. Making this project possible are many generous contributions from our friends and colleagues, including a recent donation of $1.6 million from the 3M Foundation, the charitable arm of 3M (full story here).
We continue to seek your assistance in establishing facilities that will support excellent education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels long into the future. Our original building has seen the age of steam evolve into the age of computers. Our new building will integrate the original building and support broad new technologies as they continue to evolve in the field of mechanical engineering. Enrollment in our discipline is increasing both here at UW-Madison and nationally, in part because we stand at the crossroads of many technologies, integrating them into systems and creating new processes, products and capabilities.
The department’s faculty recently met in a joint retreat with our Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) to continue the process of evolving our curriculum, assessing results of past modifications and using this feedback to further improve the educational programs we offer to students. We have found collaborating with our IAB to be highly enjoyable and stimulating, as well as highly productive in terms of the progress we have made with our curriculum. The insights and industrial perspective of the IAB are proving to be immensely valuable in charting the future needs of our students. (More information here.)
Each time we assemble this newsletter, I am reminded of the quality of our students and faculty. Because of the sheer volume of great projects they are engaged in, this newsletter necessarily provides but a glimpse into the total breadth of their activities and accomplishments. We continue to hire excellent new faculty, and the number and quality of our students continue to increase. Statistics show the SAT and ACT scores of freshmen entering UW-Madison are continually rising, as is their average high school rank. Some 25 percent more students are enrolled in evening, weekend, off-campus and distance education courses than five years ago. Almost 20 percent more students are studying abroad than five years ago. We have a major responsibility to help prepare our students for a future in which global issues and technologies we haven’t yet dreamed of will play key roles in their success and the welfare of the people of the world. Thank you for both your past and future assistance in this endeavor.
Neil A. Duffie, ME Professor and Chair
240 Mechanical Engineering Building
1513 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53706