From the Department Head: Summer 2017
Angus RockettIt has been an outstanding spring at the George S. Ansell Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, where faculty have won major research contracts, awards and teaching recognitions. We are looking forward to Prof. Sridhar Seetharaman joining the Department this fall. Sridhar has a long history of outstanding research in metallurgy, including extractive metallurgy, and will strengthen the capabilities of the Department in those areas. We will provide a full introduction to Sridhar in the next newsletter.
Teaching remains one of our greatest strengths. We have always had an outstanding metallurgical science and engineering program, and we continue to provide our traditionally excellent education with unique facilities such as the Foundry, where students get to mold liquid metal into custom shapes. The addition last year of Kester Clarke also strengthens the Department in the area of forging. To complement our metals facilities, we are adding a hot glass capability to allow students focusing on ceramics to work with glass in the lab. We are revising our curriculum to take advantage of these facilities and to provide the students more flexibility while retaining our traditional strengths.
Our student body is increasingly larger and more diverse with Spring enrollment of 160 undergraduates (11th overall nationally), 40 masters, and 63 PhD students. We are thrilled to report that for these three groups respectively, 36, 32, and 35% are women, so our gender balance continues to improve. There is more to do in this regard, but we are making progress. We are also working to increase numbers of students from traditionally under-represented socioeconomic and ethnic groups. Our fall enrollments have been consistently increasing by approximately seven students per year over the past four years. Our goal is to increase our undergraduate enrollment to 200 and to increase contact with the undergraduates at the freshman and sophomore levels. That will improve our ability to advise them and will make them part of our family earlier. We feel that this level, while a stretch for our lab facilities, will be sustainable. Our students remain in high demand and have no difficulty finding a job after graduation.
The Department continues to improve its level of research support with total expenditures last year exceeding $7.7M, or nearly $490k per faculty member. This puts us 13th overall among materials-related departments in expenditures per faculty member. Based on proposals funded to date, we expect expenditures in 2017 to exceed $9M. The Department research effort continues to grow, supported by the overall enhancement of facilities across campus. We are particularly excited by the new building sponsored by CoorsTek, which will house the major campus-wide materials analysis instruments, including several new facilities.
You will find below a number of highlights of the research accomplishments of our faculty. In the next newsletter we will have even more exciting news to report concerning awards won by the faculty, research accomplishments, and outstanding students. Feel free to write to me with any questions or comments you may have.