Fall 2020 Newsletter

College of Engineering

Fall Newsletter PDF

Dear Alumni and Friends of the College of Engineering,

The start of the fall semester is always one of the most exciting times on campus. This year, that excitement was mixed with anxiety, uncertainty and apprehension, as we launched classes and continued our important educational and research mission amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Even with most students, faculty and staff back on campus, we are not back to business as usual. We’re wearing masks, canceling events and large gatherings and using virtual communication tools, like Teams and Zoom, to limit face-to-face meetings.

The pandemic has also led to new challenges and opportunities in the classroom. This fall, NDSU launched the HyFlex Educational Model, where technology-enhanced hybrid learning allows students and faculty the flexibility to fully interact in person or remotely. Like anything new, there is room for improvement. But, overall, students have responded positively, with some now saying they prefer to attend class remotely. I believe this powerful tool, that allows students to choose how they participate, will benefit the college and university for years to come.

Another effort I believe will benefit the college and university for years to come is the implementation of our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. This document is the result of more than a year of hard work by staff, faculty, alumni and students and will be an important tool used to guide our decisions over the next five years. We’re in the process of developing digital scorecards to track progress on our strategic initiatives in real-time and realize our vision to be the engineering college of choice for students, faculty and employers seeking to enhance society through leadership and innovation.

One of the key parts of our strategic plan is a renewed focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. Unfortunately, we, in the engineering and academic community, are not immune to biases towards, and suppression and silencing of minority students, colleagues and voices. Which is why, as a community, we must strive to treat each other better and empathize with each other, especially with those in our underrepresented communities.

“We are Inclusive” is one of the four core values identified in our strategic plan and our intent is to cultivate an inclusive and welcoming environment for all. We must be proactive about diversity.

Earlier this academic year, we began working on a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan for the College of Engineering. Over the coming months, we will be sharing and refining that plan and following through on several initiatives, including increasing support for minority students.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge our faculty and staff for their extraordinary efforts and can-do attitude over these last several months. When I’m asked what makes me the most proud as the Dean of Engineering at NDSU, hands down, the answer is the outstanding people in this college who work hard every day to meet our mission of preparing innovative problem solvers and creating new knowledge to improve lives in North Dakota and beyond.

Thank you for your support for the College of Engineering. Go Bison!

Michael R. Kessler

Dean, NDSU College of Engineering

College News

College of Engineering Earns Diversity Award

The NDSU College of Engineering has received a Bronze Award from the American Society for Engineering Education Diversity Recognition Program. The honor means the NDSU College of Engineering is among the nation’s leaders in inclusive excellence.

Researchers use technology to enhance road safety

North Dakota is a major transportation hub. Vehicles of all sizes and shapes use the state’s highway system to transport goods to and from markets. Monitoring that traffic to develop more “intelligent transportation systems” is the goal of research by Ying Huang.

Undergraduates develop career skills through research

Working directly on world-class research projects gives College of Engineering students hands-on experience and provides an opportunity to apply classroom knowledge in the real world.

Entrepreneurship at NDSU is ‘shaping where I want to go’

“NDSU has an atmosphere where a student can be a voice for something that they think is important. That’s definitely been my experience,” said Timothy Straus. “Anyone who is passionate about something can find a venue for rallying people around that idea here.”

Making Big Data Practical

Anne Denton, professor in the NDSU Department of Computer Science, has developed new methods for assessing the remotely sensed data and created models that can analyze the data at the level of 1 meter or 5 meters, rather than the traditional 30-meter grids.

Out-of-this-world internship

“This internship showed me what it's like to be a part of a real engineering organization, and not just any organization – NASA tackles the hardest problems we know,” said mechanical engineering student Andrew Fristed.

Alumni News

Faculty member appointed to Vettel Family Fellowship

Lokesh Narayanan was named the inaugural holder of the Vettel Family Fellowship. Matt Vettel and his wife, Jenna, established the fellowship to support a faculty member in the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering.

Engineering education builds career confidence

Lauren Singelmann credits her self-confidence to the opportunities she’s been given at NDSU to learn and grow in her field of engineering. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from NDSU and started working toward her doctoral degree this fall.

Other News

Faculty Promotions

Promoted to Full Professor

  • Shafiqur Rahman, agricultural and biosystems engineering
  • Gursimran Walia, computer science
  • Xiangfa Wu, mechanical engineering

Promoted to Associate Professor

  • Dharmakeerthi Nawarathna, electrical and computer engineering

Awarded Tenure

  • Jordi Estevadeordal, associate professor of mechanical engineering
  • Dharmakeerthi Nawarathna, electrical and computer engineering

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