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eCurrents - Designing and Building the Future!

A publication of the Lyles College of Engineering at California State University, Fresno

To Do the Same or to do Less with Less?

Michael Jenkins - Dean of the College of EngineeringIn Photo: Amanpreet Kaur (L), Graduate Dean's Medalist; Dr. Michael Jenkins (C), Dean; Jacob Bryan (R), Undergraduate Dean's Medalist

To Do the Same or to do Less with Less? This was the dilemma of the academic and fiscal years just ended.  With state budget cuts to the California State University system starting in summer 2009, drastic cuts in operating expenditures were combined with significent fee/tuition increases to students and temporary pay reductions to staff and faculty in the form of furlough days to help balance our budgets.  The administration, faculty, staff and students were clever with time management to weave furlough days into the academic year with minimum disruptions in instruction. As a result, classes were still taught, students still learned, projects were still completed, homeworks were still turned in and corrected, tests were stull administered and scored, course grades were still assigned, and students still graduated. The CSU system fulfilled its educational mission thanks to the dedictation and extra efforts of students, staff, faculty, and administrators.

We end this second year as the Lyles College of Engineering (although the 88th year since instruction in engineering and construction management began at Fresno State) on an upbeat note even as we begin to address decreased enrollment targets mandated by the CSU and continuing decreased state budgets despite increased demands for admissions.

On May 21, 2010 our College hosted nearly 2,000 guests (graduates, family, friends, staff and faculty) including Deans Emeritus Eldon Shaw and Karl Longley, for our Lyles College of Engineering Spring Convocation at the Student Recreation Center. This academic year, graduation applications for 225 new Bachelors degrees and 30 new Masters degrees were received in our College. For the Lyles College of Engineering, Mr Bryan Jacob was named the undergraduate Dean’s Medalist and Ms Amanpreet Kaur was named the graduate Dean’s Medalist. Several hundred guests enjoyed our third annual Projects Day on May 06, 2010 at which 35 different projects ranging from senior design projects to thesis projects to competition projects to interdisciplinary research projects were presented by about 140 students (both undergraduate and graduate) and 15 faculty and staff. Over 280 people attended our third annual Lyles College of Engineering Spring Banquet, the Starlight Gala, on May 07, 2010. At the Banquet, Mr Ron Hunt was named Staff Member of the Year, Mr. Lloyd Crask was named Faculty of the Year, Dr. Fareed Nader received the Community Service Award and Jacob Andresen was named Student of the Year. In a break with tradition, not one but three Dean’s Service Awards were presented (for good reason!): 1) Dr. Satya Mahanty for 32 years of service to Fresno State on the occasion of the completion of his five-year FERP (faculty early retirement program); 2) Dr. Fareed Nader for 35 years of service to Fresno State on the occasion of the completion of his five-year FERP; 3) Dr. Mohamad Yousef for 32 years of service to Fresno State on the occasion of the completion of his five-year FERP. It is noteworthy that these three faculty represent 99 years of combined service to Fresno State and we thank them for their dedication. In addition, the following community partners were recognized by the programs indicated: CE-Anthony (Tony) Akel (Akel Engineering Group); CM-Justin Barton (Durham Construction); ECE-Greg Millar (Pelco); GME- Paul Enneking (Psomas & Associates); and ME-Ryan Carlson (Lyles Mechanical).

We awarded five more Husband-Boeing (H-B) Honors Scholarships for students beginning their studies in Fall 2010 (bringing our total to 14 H-B Scholars in the College). In AY2009-10, our College had 24 IRA (Instructionally Related Activities) projects funded for a total of $230,000. These IRA awards allowed students not only to take field trips or attend conferences but also to participate in national competitions such as Steel Bridge (ASCE), Formula SAE (SAE), Human Powered Vehicle (ASME), Baja SAE (SAE), Reno Competition, and Granite Construction Competition. Consistent with the spirit of Fresno State as the “Engaged University,” students from our Engineers without Borders (EWB) chapter traveled to Cambodia on an international service project for the third year in a row. In addition, our students also participated in service projects locally through University HOPE, Kaboom and Habitat for Humanity. Two new service projects were initiated this year as well: 1) Eco-Village (see related article) is a visionary effort led by local architect, Art Dyson, and combines the talents, time and resources of faculty and staff in two colleges, (LCOE and College of Arts and Humanities) and 2) Lowell Project is a city-driven but community-involved effort to rebuild and revitalize one of the poorest sections of Fresno. People across the University, including many in LCOE are involved in this cause.

Two successful technical projects this year are making big impacts across the College. Hewlett-Packard provided hardware and funding through an HP Innovations In Education Equipment Grant that included tablet PCs, LCD projects, a Blade server, and other components necessary to provide outreach to potential students in order to involve them in engineering design earlier in K-12 activities. Edwards Air Force Base (see related article) has provided a project (laser tracking system for a unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and funding to involve faculty and students in a multi-year activity that has taken the College and University participants as far north as Madera and as far south as the Mojave Desert to test, evaluate and demonstrate their creation.

We welcomed four new faculty this year: Dr. Manoochehr Zoghi as Professor and Coordinator of Construction Management, Mr. Lloyd Crask as Assistant Professor of Construction Management, Mr. Brad Hyatt as Assistant Professor of Construction Management, and Dr. Alma Delic-Ibukic as Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering. Joining us in the Fall 2010 semester will be Dr. Fariborz Tehrani as Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and Dr. Jiaxin Zhao as full-time lecturer in Mechanical Engineering. Our College also boasts three more Industry-Faculty Fellows thanks to the generosity and involvement of our community partners: Dr. Manoochehr Zoghi as a Construction Management Industry-Faculty Fellow, Mr. Lloyd Crask as a Construction Management Industry-Faculty Fellow, and Mr. Brad Hyatt as a Construction Management Industry-Faculty Fellow.

As part of our numerous efforts to “expand the pipeline” of prospective students, Summer 2010 marks the second year of Fresno State’s Girls Summer Engineering Experience (Girls SEE) scheduled for July 2010. A critical part of “expanding the pipeline” through recruiting and outreach is “stopping the leaks” through retention. Pathways: Lyles College of Engineering Student Services has been a standout for our College in providing a one-stop-shop for all student needs!

So, in spite of the “challenging” economic developments in the state and the nation that vie for our attention, we call your attention to your Lyles College of Engineering, the oldest and largest, publicly-funded institution of engineering and construction management in the Central Valley, which had a very good year. We look forward to “Designing and Building the Future” in our reinvigorated College! As we celebrate the Centennial year of Fresno State, we have many exciting events planned in both the College and the University. We will keep you informed of these events and we invite you to participate as we celebrate “A Century of Excellence.”

— Michael Jenkins Dean, Lyles College of Engineering

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