Monthly Archives: December 2013

Building a Wall – One Brick at a Time

by John Usher, Associate Dean

It just seems like the end of the year comes so fast.  I think the problem I have with it, is that it forces me to take stock of what was accomplished during the year, and I always feel that I could have done more. I’m sure lots of people feel the same way.  However, when I look back over 2013, I can see lots of great things that got done collectively at UofL and Speed, including some outstanding faculty hires, a new strategic plan, great success for our student teams in a variety of national competitions, numerous faculty awards, fantastic research results, a record number of top-notch students enrolled, and even national championship in basketball and a Sugar Bowl victory. Sometimes however, while changes are happening they are hard to detect in the chaos of the daily grind. It is only after some time passes that you can see and appreciate the true effect.  A lesson I always convey to students in my Quality Control class, is that improving a really complex system can often be best done by making slow and steady changes, like building a brick wall, one brick at a time.  I’m sure at the start, the brick layers feel overwhelmed with the amount of bricks to be laid.  But after some time and a lot of hard work, they can step back and be extremely proud of the wall that they built.  In fact, in the book Working, by Studs Terkel, bricklayers and stone masons are reported to be among the most satisfied workers in America, because they (and others) can see and admire the results of their work for years.  We all need to take that lesson to heart, as we try to make Speed School a better place to educate students.  So as 2013 closes, all of us here at Speed need to, step back, take a breath, admire the wall we have built so far, and then get back to work in 2014 laying more bricks. 

Co-op Program Accreditation

Certificate from the Accreditation Council for Cooperative Education

Accreditation Council for Cooperative Education certificate

Although our mandatory co-op program is more than 85 years old, this is the first year that we applied for accreditation of the co-op program through the American Council for Cooperative Education (ACCE).

Our program was benchmarked against the best co-operative engineering education programs in the country, and was assessed to have no issues! We are accredited through August 2019.

The ACCE looks at 5 standards to assess the strength of a co-op program – I have listed them below. Of all the accomplishments our office has had this year, this is the one that we are most proud of and happy to share.

Have a great holiday break and we’ll be back in the new year, with another eager group of students looking for their first co-op and 240 students starting their first co-op!

STANDARD ONE: Mission and Goals
STANDARD TWO: Institutional Relationships
STANDARD THREE: Employers
STANDARD FOUR: Student Learning Environment
STANDARD FIVE: Student Learning Outcomes and Program Effectiveness

Updates to the Speed School Student Services team

The Fall 2013 semester has come to an end! It has been a busy, but great semester to be a part of the Speed School! We had a much loved Academic Counselor retire, Vivian Lochner. She will be missed by many faculty and staff. We have a new Assistant Director of Speed School Student Services, Jimmy Kidd! He was previously in the Speed School Admissions Office and we are excited to have him be a part of the Advising team.

We hope everyone has a relaxing winter beak and happy holidays! The spring semester begins on Monday, January 6. We look forward to seeing all the Speed School students during their spring advising meeting!

Completing the Design Phase

The Steel Bridge Design Team is completing their design, which is within the goal of completing the design this semester! This is a great step forward for the new team. The next step will be to order materials; namely, steel!

Like last year, the team will be working with welders and fabricators from the Elizabethtown Community and Technical College. The faculty and students from Elizabethtown will have ongoing communications with the UofL students, and it will work very much like a real engineering project. The groups will exchange Autocad drawings, mark up the drawings, communicate about improvements and any issues in fabrication, and much more. This provides a great experience for both groups, especially the engineering students from UofL, because they’re getting real life project management experience!

Many thanks to the guys at E-town for helping the team out again this year. Stay tuned for more updates on bridge fabrication, as the team watches their new project come to life!

Engineering Living Learning Community!

The Fall 2013 semester is quickly coming to an end and our ELLC students are preparing for finals! The ELLC staff will be providing snacks and drinks in the basement of Center Hall during Reading Day (December 10) from 9:00 am-4:00 pm for all ELLC students. Good luck to all of the Speed School students on their upcoming finals and Happy Holidays! It has been a great semester filled with lots of fun events and we look forward to the Spring semester!

If you’re an incoming Speed School student for the Fall 2014 semester and are interested in the Engineering Living Learning Community, the application will be available online beginning January 8, 2014. If you have any questions please contact Jimmy Kidd at 852-0398.

Center for Teaching and Learning Engineering

Drs. Ralston, Lewis and Tyler work together on a video lesson in the EF studio.

Drs. Ralston, Lewis and Tyler work together on a video lesson in the EF studio.

As part of the strategic planning process, Speed School has recently established a Center for Teaching and Learning Engineering. The center works in partnership and collaboration with UofL’s Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning and is based in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals.  Already operational is a new instructional design studio.  Drs. Tyler, Ralston, and Lewis have created video content for approximately 30 percent of the Engineering Analysis I course.  This content was previously delivered in a class lecture, that time has now been returned to students, and they can view the videos at their convenience and as often as they like! Stay tuned – more exciting things are coming…