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IMAGINE - Annual Report 1999
College of Engineering -- University of Wisconsin-Madison


Students with their winning car The college's 1999 national-champion FutureCar team on UW-Madison's Bascom Hill. (35K JPG)

Big Letterven as we imagine the future of our college in 2000 and beyond, we can look back at 1999 as a year of important advancement--and changes-- within our incredibly fine programs. A solid foundation of excellence has been established, and we'd like to show you just a few examples.

Student achievements

In the past year, one of our greatest sources of pride has been the achievements of our students. Our FutureCar team this year won undisputed first place in the national competition against 12 other student teams from some of the top engineering schools in the country. In addition to the overall win, Team Paradigm was the top performer in gas mileage, acceleration, workmanship, appearance and dynamic handling. The competition challenges students to create the low-emission car of the future. Next year's competition will see the students modifying sport utility vehicles. Also, our student bridge building and concrete canoe teams did extremely well, both winning their regional competitions.

Getting messy with SWE

The college's Society of Women Engineers sponsored a hands-on exhibit for EXPO '99. (26K JPG)

This was an Engineering EXPO year, and again our students proved that they are among the best ambassadors of new engineering technology to the public. Their tremendous enthusiasm for sharing engineering advances was evident across the entire EXPO to the thousands of people who attended. Many EXPO '99 "Bridge to the New Millennium" visitors were elementary, middle and high school students. For some of them, EXPO may spark an interest in pursuing an engineering education. For our students, EXPO represents not only a chance to share engineering knowledge, but also an opportunity to build skills in organizing and executing a major public event. It's a real exercise in planning, management and teamwork.

Our student invention and business plan competitions continue to draw great student interest. Entrants in BRAINSTORM: The Schoofs Prize for Creativity invented everything from an improved solar energy system to a snap-in joist stiffener. The G. Steven Burrill Technology Business Plan Competition winners developed a technology-based business plan to market a new foot binding system used in waveboarding, a form of water skiing. The team recognized the sport's high rate of injuries resulting from bindings that did not kick loose upon a fall. S.O.S. Binding Systems, Inc.'s product is designed to break loose and reduce the risk of injury.

Dinkins at SOAR

Cargill Diversity Scholar Thomas Dinkins at a summer orientation session with College of Engineering advisor Bonnie H. Schmidt. (36K JPG)

Our Diversity Affairs Program, under Assistant Dean Alem Asres, had a very active and productive year. Twenty-five students from around the country attended our Engineering Summer Program for high school students interested in pursuing an engineering education. Industrial sponsors include General Electric and the Coca Cola Company. The Alcoa Foundation has given the college $30,000 in support of two programs: the Engineering Summer Program (ESP) and PREP Summer Science Academy (Pride- Responsibility-Excellence-Preparation). The new Cargill Diversity Scholarship will enhance diversity in the engineering profession by supporting students from traditionally underrepresented communities. It provides $11,000 per year for a student to attend our college. The first Cargill Scholar, Thomas Dinkins of Milwaukee's Rufus King High School, is a freshman this fall.

Educational milestones for 1999

This year marked the official designation of Biomedical Engineering (BME) as the college's ninth department. With an interdisciplinary faculty and an underlying theme of minimally invasive medicine, BME will help lead the future of many biomedical technology development areas, including medical devices, genetic research and drug delivery.

'Edison' and airlift invention

BME Prof. Willis J. Tompkins (as Thomas Edison) watches a demonstration of Eric Wobig's "AirLift" entry in the 1999 The Schoofs Prize for Creativity. (35K JPG)

Our new Master of Engineering in Professional Practice distance degree program began this past June with 25 students enrolled. The distance-learning format of the program has yielded an international student body. Besides our U.S. students, one student is based in London, two in Italy and one in Singapore. The program is aimed at working engineers who face increasing responsibilities and leadership roles, targeting subjects including project management, business operations and quality management. (For more information, phone 800/462-0876 or 608/262-2061 or

We have joined six other academic institutions in the NSF Foundation Coalition, a $15 million educational program to better prepare future engineers through strengthening students' educational foundations. The main thrust of the coalition is developing a responsive curriculum, focusing on techniques and tools that enhance student learning. Currently, a UW-Madison interdepartmental team is developing a curriculum to more effectively link our engineering courses with basic courses in math, chemistry, physics and computer science.

Faculty achievements

Among our faculty's achievements in the past year, we are particularly proud of the recognition our "next generation" professors have received early in their careers. For example, Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professors Gregory W. Harrington and Daniel R. Noguera, Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Akbar M. Sayeed, and Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Jaal B. Ghandhi each received the National Science Foundation's prestigious CAREER award this year. NSF established the awards to help scientists and engineers develop simultaneously their contributions to research and education early in their careers. Also, Industrial Engineering Assistant Professor Julie A. Jacko won NSF's Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

The changing campus landscape

Our efforts to create a physical environment up to the challenge of 2000-beyond made great strides this year. The engineering campus parking ramp construction is in full swing, with completion tentatively expected in the spring of 2000. This ramp will make it significantly easier for our academic and industrial partners, as well as the public, to visit our college.

Work is progressing rapidly on the detailed drawings for construction of the Engineering Centers Building (ECB). We are still on schedule to begin construction in late spring/early summer of 2000. A significant milestone in the life of the college will be when the World War II "Temporary Buildings" come down and ECB rises in their place.

Thanks to industry, alumni and friends

Past and future deans

The changing face of leadership: Outgoing dean John G. Bollinger (right) and new dean Paul S. Peercy on Engineering Mall. (20K JPG)

We have the talent and drive in this college to create the solutions to 21st century problems. But without the strong partnerships we enjoy with industry, alumni and friends, we might not be headed into the new century as a national leader in research, education and public service. These partnerships have helped us offer our students new opportunities in the classroom and out. They are making the Engineering Centers Building possible, with the extra margin of excellence that will ensure a cutting-edge research and education facility. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank these partners for their continued, invaluable support of our efforts.

New leadership for the new century

Finally, a change in leadership has created a great sense of expectation and excitement. One of us is proud to hand off the dean's chair at a college of excellence; the other is eager to lead an outstanding institution to new heights in the coming century. Imagine a stream of ideas and possibilities. It's an exciting vision, and we look forward, with you, to making it happen.

John G. Bollinger
John G. Bollinger, (Dean, Jan. 1 - Aug. 31, 1999)

Paul S. Peercy
Paul S. Peercy, (Dean, as of Sept. 1, 1999)

Copyright 1999 University System Board of Regents

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Date last modified: 30-Apr-2012
Date created: 27-Sep-1999

Annual Report 1999 Contents