Annual Report 2000: Engineering InterAction
College of Engineering / University of Wisconsin-Madison


The Dean's Message

College Departments

Biomedical Engineering

Chemical Engineering

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Engineering Physics

Engineering Professional Development

Industrial Engineering

Materials Science and Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Interdisciplinary Degree Programs

2000-2001 Industrial Advisory Board

College Consortia

College Centers

College Services

Private Support

1999-2000 Financial Summary

Faculty and Department Directory

College Publications



To educate and prepare men and women to contribute as engineers and citizens through the creation, integration, application and transfer of engineering knowledge.


To be, and be recognized as, a world-class college of engineering that provides an excellent learning experience, learning community and learning environment in a leading research university.

Interdisciplinary "interaction"--A strategic goal
ECB groundbreaking

In June, the college celebrated the start of a new era with groundbreaking for the Engineering Centers Building. Turning a shovel of dirt in celebration are (from left) Polygon President Eric Wobig, Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce Brenda Blanchard, Dean Paul Peercy, Chancellor David Ward, Vision 2000 Committee Chair Russ Christesen, Robert Rennebohm of the Vilas Trust Board of Directors, and Dean Emeritus John Bollinger. The building is set for completion in 2002. (30K JPG)

he year 2000 annual report illustrates our commitment to working across traditional disciplinary boundaries. With continued rapid technology advances, boundaries between traditional disciplines are disappearing. Engineers will increasingly be asked to work in interdisciplinary teams to design solutions to increasingly complex problems.

In addition to a solid foundation in the fundamentals of an engineering discipline, engineers of tomorrow will require broader interdisciplinary education and knowledge as they address an ever-increasing variety of needs and opportunities in industry and society. Interdisciplinary interaction is the key to rapid knowledge advancement. It represents the future, as teams of engineers, scientists and leaders from other disciplines create new areas of research.

A few decades ago, new fields and disciplines were created by "fission" of existing fields as disciplines became more specialized. Today, as a result of the in-depth knowledge and the engineering tools we have created within those specialties, new fields and disciplines are being created by "fusion," as knowledge and tools from multiple disciplines are brought to bear on a given area. Numerous examples of this change are evident at the College of Engineering--biotechnology, nano-technology, information technology and materials science--to name a few.

Throughout this report, you will encounter examples of how our faculty members have formed strategic alliances with scientists and engineers in disciplines outside their own to expand engineering knowledge and offer unique learning opportunities to our undergraduate and graduate students. This report also includes examples of strategic partnerships between the College of Engineering and the School of Business. The joint effort of faculty and students from engineering and business to transfer technology developed at the university to improve the quality of life and the national economy illustrates the fading of the boundaries between these areas. One example is the rapid advance in electronic business transactions and supply-chain management ("E-commerce") made possible by the digital technology revolution.

To respond to these new demands and directions in the field, we are finalizing a detailed strategic plan for the college. This ambitious plan focuses on five strategic objectives:

  • Educational excellence
  • Research leadership
  • Technology development and entrepreneurism leadership
  • Recognition
  • Effective infrastructure and administrative support to accomplish the mission, vision and objectives

As stated in our mission, our purpose is to provide our students with an excellent education. Their learning experience will be greatly facilitated by our research leadership. In addition, we want to develop and transfer technology from our research results for the benefit of society and the nation. We also want to receive appropriate recognition for our educational and technological accomplishments. Our strategic plan is aggressive, and we must challenge ourselves to increase our extramural support to find the significant resources that will be required. We must also improve our internal efficiency to realize this plan.

New college facilities to advance our strategic goals

This year the college took a giant step toward obtaining the facilities needed to enable us to meet our strategic goals. Groundbreaking for the long-awaited Engineering Centers Building (ECB) occurred on June 20. With 135,000 assignable square feet, the ECB will make a significant improvement in space for research, including important new facilities such as the Oscar F. Gusloff NanoMaterials Laboratory and the Edwin E. Bryant NanoFabrication Laboratory. It will also provide a home for our new Department of Biomedical Engineering, student organizations and Engineering Career Services.
Wobig's winner

Engineering student Eric Wobig demonstrates his invention, the StairCrawler, which he created for the 2000 The Schoofs Prize for Creativity. The device enables large or heavy loads to be effortlessly transported up and down stairs. Wobig won second place in the competition, and also won the Tong Prototype Prize for best prototype. (27K JPG)

Our students are excited about the new student facilities in the building, which include the Phillips Discovery Center, the Tong Student Leadership Auditorium, the Myers Student Automotive Center, and the Yu Innovation Laboratory. We share their excitement and look forward to the completion of the facility in 2002.

We have also begun intensive planning and fund-raising for a $33 million renovation and addition to the Mechanical Engineering Building. Renovation is possible at this time because the new Engineering Centers Building offers the opportunity for surge space to house the ME Building occupants during the project. Of the total cost, $23 million is to be funded by the state of Wisconsin. The college must raise the remaining $10 million in gift funds to take advantage of this one-time opportunity to update this pre-World War II building, which has not undergone a major renovation since its construction in 1930. The sawtooth structure in the building's center, which was built in 1920, will be replaced with a three-story addition to create a facility for 21st century engineering. This addition will provide 35,000 assignable square feet and alleviate a space deficit for the current occupants of the building, which include mechanical engineering, industrial engineering and engineering physics faculty and students.

The new and remodeled space is crucial to providing a high-quality educational experience for both undergraduate and graduate students. Without renovation, many of the facilities in the building will not be able to fully support modern education and research activities. The renovated facility will be of great importance to positioning the mechanical and industrial engineering departments for greater national visibility and prestige. Improved facilities for research will enhance the ability of these departments to attract the best faculty and graduate students. The impact of new facilities will also be felt in other disciplines, since many students across the college take classes and use laboratories in the building.

A year of honor and achievement

We began this year sharing a sense of excitement with the new millennium. Although the first year of the new millennium has not yet drawn to a close, our faculty and students have already shown that they intend to insure that our college makes an impressive mark in the new century. They have demonstrated more achievements and received more honors than I have room to list here, but I would like to share a few examples:
ESP reactor tour

Each year, some 30 high school juniors and seniors participate in an intense, seven-week introduction to college through the Engineering Summer Program (ESP). The women and students of color take chemistry, computer science, technical writing and pre-engineeering classes, learn time-management and study skills, and tour on- and off-campus facilities. Here researcher John Murphy talks to ESP students about the college's 1-megawatt pool reactor. (23K JPG)

  • Three electrical and computer engineering assistant professors have received year 2000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards from the National Science Foundation: Yogesh Gianchandani, Susan Hagness, and Amit Lal. (Hagness and Lal are also members of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.)

  • Our students had an excellent year in competitive team projects. The Formula racing team placed second and the Concrete Canoe team placed seventh in national competition. Our Mini-Baja Car placed first and second in two international races. And the FutureTruck team, with the first run of its modified sport utility vehicle, placed fifth in the national challenge. These competitions give our students valuable experience with teamwork, design and presentation skills.

  • The faculty of the college set a record this year for research expenditures, with a total of $77,181,941. In the past 10 years, we have increased our research funding and expenditures 80 percent. Although this number is impressive, we intend to build our research enterprise even further with special efforts in areas such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, technologies for E-commerce, information technology, computational sciences, and energy sources and systems.

  • We look forward to twso special milestones in our educational activities this coming year. We expect to have the first graduates in our Internet-delivered Master's of Engineering in Professional Practice Program ( Employers represented in this fall's incoming class include Boeing, Harley-Davidson, Kohler Company and GE Medical Systems. In collaboration with the Graduate School, we kick off our Graduate Engineering Research Scholars (GERS) Program this year, which will help us expand the diversity of our graduate student population.

Thanks to our partners in excellence

Our achievements in the past year and our ambitious plans for the future are possible in part because of some very special partnerships. The help of industry, alumni and friends gives us a valuable margin of excellence in our research, education and extracurricular programs. On behalf of our faculty, staff and students, I would like to thank them for their confidence in us.
Dean Peercy at construction of ECB

Dean Paul Peercy at the Engineering Centers Building construction site. (27K JPG)

Together we will continue to build an engineering college recognized as one of the very best, graduating students with strong fundamental problem-solving, teamwork and communication skills, committed to continuing education and lifelong learning.

Paul S. Peercy
Paul S. Peercy, Dean
2610 Engineering Hall
1415 Engineering Dr.
Madison, WI 53706-1691
Tel: 608/262-3482
Fax: 608/262-6400


Copyright © 2000 University System Board of Regents


Published: September 2000