Engineering Fundamentals encourages students to think critically about their major, discipline

Dr. Jeff Hieb

Dr. Jeff Hieb

This fall semester Engineering Fundamentals welcomed approximately 600 students to the Introduction to Engineering course (ENGR 100); this includes first-time and transfer students.  In ENGR 100, students are asked to reflect on and think critically about their choice of major and discipline. To assist students in this thinking process, we (in collaboration with the Career Development and Cooperative Education Office) are hosting 12 seminars where representatives from some of Speed’s employer partners will speak to the first-year students about their company and what they are looking for in hiring engineering students.

Department of Engineering Fundamentals faculty member Dr. Jeff Hieb was recognized at the 2015 Celebration of Faculty Excellence for creative work resulting in new patents, licenses and options. Dr. Hieb, along with Dr. James H. Graham, were recently awarded a patent on a “Device, Method, and System for Processing Communications for Secure Operation of Industrial Control System Field Devices”. Drs. Hieb and Graham have been working in the area of cyber security for industrial control systems for the past 10 years with numerous funded research projects.


EF Faculty share teaching philosophy

Faculty in the Engineering Fundamentals Department worked with Marie Kendall Brown of the Delphi Center recently to update their teaching philosophy statements.  Junior and senior faculty members discussed their individual philosophies and examined how their ideas had changed over the course of their careers.  They shared their thoughts about both the rewards and challenges of teaching.  All are passionate about teaching and want to work together as a department to keep students at the center of all they do.

FirstBuild in ENGR 100

firstBuild representative Amelia Gandara, ChE '14, presents to the ENGR100 class on the opportunities to use the technologies and equipment available at their on-campus facility.

firstBuild representative Amelia Gandara, ChE ’14, presents to the ENGR100 class on the opportunities to use the technologies and equipment available at their on-campus facility.

First year students taking Introduction to Engineering (ENGR 100) were introduced to FirstBuild by Speed alumna, Amelia Gandara. FirstBuild (located on the north end of campus) is a partnership between GE Appliances and Local Motors whose mission is to create a new model for the appliance industry be engaging a community of industrial designers, scientists, engineers, makers and early adopters to address engineering challenges and new innovations. Students were encouraged to participate in the online community by generating ideas or to visit the microfactory to see how they could get involved in a “hand-on” fashion.

My First Day at Speed

By John Usher, Associate Dean

Driving into work this morning I saw all the students moving their stuff into the dorms. Classes start in a few days. I still remember my first day at Speed School. I would use the word exciterrified to describe it. I had no idea what to expect. I walked into my Chem class in the big auditorium in Ernst Hall and looked around and saw about 100 guys and 5 girls. That ratio was completely unexpected, and after having spent 4 years at Trinity High School, I started to seriously question my engineering career choice. Then, the professor (who shall remain nameless) walked in and his first words were “Look to your left and look to your right, one of these people will be gone in 3 weeks.” Wow…nice welcome. Great to be here, I thought. Obviously I made it through ok, but still it was eye-opening.

Boy how times have changed. That old “weed them out” mentality is long since gone. Speed School is ALL about retaining students and helping them earn an engineering degree. We have a great set of dedicated academic advisors that work with their assigned students through their entire career here at Speed. We have supplemental Calculus instruction sections, student help sessions, tutors, a Living/Learning Community, tablet PC initiative, a new Director for Student Success (Heidi Neal), UofL Reach, a Writing Center, and much more.

As I look back now, I realize how far we have come and how much better it is be a Speed student these now. Maybe that’s why our enrollment numbers are through the roof as more and more young people are deciding that engineering can lead them to a great lifetime career.

Best of luck to the incoming class!

A Blackboard organization named Speed Online has been launched to help incoming online graduate students prepare for personal, academic and career success. With new students enrolling in five fully online graduate degree and certificate programs offered by three academic departments, the new organization will simplify and expedite the orientation and enrollment process for online graduate students.

Shortly after applicants are offered admission, they are added to the Speed Online organization and emailed instructions for logging in to Blackboard. Outlined below, the main menu not only guides them through the orientation process, but also provides 24/7 access to the information, resources and services they may need throughout their program.

  • Welcome: Orientation overview and welcome message from Dean Pinto.
  • New Students Start Here: Initial action required of newly admitted students, including account setup, course registration, bill payment and financial aid.
  • Speed Online 101: General information about technology, textbooks, advising, academic integrity, policies and student expectations.
  • UofL Resources: Details about helpful on-campus and online resources students are most likely to need.
  • Announcements: Occasional messages posted for all Speed Online students.
  • Discussion Board: Community forum for questions, comments and responses of general interest to all students in any of our online programs or courses.
  • Faculty & Staff: Names and contact information for online program directors and school administrators.
  • Calendar: Important academic dates and deadlines for the university, school and online programs.

Engineering Management, Computer Science and Data Mining students enrolling for the first time in Fall 2014 are the first ones to use the Speed Online orientation process. To give new students more hands-on experience with Blackboard tools used in online classes and to help them feel more connected to the Speed School community, we are planning two additional modules for those enrolling in Spring 2015.

  • Pre-Term Assignments: Confirm technology setup, participate in Blackboard Collaborate meeting, develop online learning plan, introduce self to faculty and students using a blog, expand LinkedIn professional network and complete pre-enrollment quiz.
  • Orientation Programs: Required synchronous or asynchronous virtual orientation session for Speed Online students, as well as optional on-campus orientation at the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies (SIGS) and reception at the Speed School.

The new Speed Online organization has three main benefits. First, it will ensure that all incoming online students have timely access to high quality information that is relevant, accurate and complete. Second, it will help improve enrollment, retention and graduation rates for online programs and increase the engagement of online students and alumni in the Speed School community. Finally, it will reduce the number of times that academic departments, program directors and online instructors have to answer frequently asked questions about policies, procedures, resources and technology. Please contact Todd Reale, Director of Online and External Programs, at or 502-852-5012 if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.


Engineering Fundamentals Update

Drs. Jeffrey Hieb and Patricia Ralston (Engineering Fundamentals) and Dr. Keith Lyle (Psychological and Brain Sciences) have received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study a potential means of helping first-year Engineering students learn and retain calculus knowledge. The project will compare a typical classroom procedure, in which knowledge of a given course objective is tested primarily on a single quiz, with a procedure in which the same knowledge is tested on multiple quizzes spaced out throughout the course. The latter procedure–known as spacing– has been found to enhance learning and memory in many laboratory studies, but has rarely been applied in the classroom or to mathematical knowledge.

Speed Student Services Summer

It has been an exciting summer so far here in Speed Student Services!

Speed Advisors Natalie Olliner and Jimmy Kidd assist incoming freshmen register for fall classes during summer orientation.

Speed Advisors Natalie Oliner and Jimmy Kidd assist incoming freshmen register for fall classes during summer orientation.

First, we have seen over 500 students in less than 2 months during Orientation. During Orientation, we give incoming students presentations to get them ready for success, as well as advise them for their fall schedule. A lot of work went into pulling off a successful Orientation, and our new advisors, Jen and Natalie, are still in correspondence with the new students to make sure they have the best schedules possible!

Summer semester is just about over here at the Speed School, and we wish all of our students good luck on finals! For our students that are moving from their first official year to their second year here, many are officially being admitted into their department based on their course load and GPA. This is an exciting time because it means they can attend the co-op seminar in the fall, allowing them to co-op for the first time in the spring.

All in all, summer is a great time for Student Services!