Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.


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!

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.

Return on Investment for the JB Speed School

An engineering degree from Speed School is worth the price of tuition and then some.From the employment point of view, an engineering degree from the JB Speed School of Engineering is a great value.

With the rising costs of tuition it is ever important to find the right value for your education. Our students graduate with an excellent education and knowledge in their field. The mandatory co-op program also adds to the value of our degree.

If you look at the rough numbers the value is clear:

The average cost of a semester of classes is $4,733. Our students attend for 9 semesters (for a Bachelor’s degree) of full time classes  and pay for two hours of credit while on co-op ($812 x 3 co-ops = $2436) at the approximate cost of $45,033. The average semester earnings for a student on co-op is $11,481 – multiply that by 3 semesters of co-op and the payoff is $34,443.


Now consider that 80% of our students come into the JB Speed School with scholarship money – KY students will typically have KEES money – often around $2,000.

That’s a great value. An excellent education at the low cost of around $8,000 (tuition only).

AND most of our students will graduate with an average starting salary of $58,000. How is that for a Return on Investment?

Speed Business Center to Open July 1

On July 1, 2014 Speed School will open its new business center. SpeedBC will consolidate the school’s unit business managers with the research support group (RASS) into one office to handle finance, accounting, payroll, hiring, procurement, grants management, and a wide array of related business services. This strategic initiative aims to:

  1. Support the vision and strategic goals of the school;
  2. Significantly improve the quality and timeliness of business processes;
  3. Adhere to best practices of the profession;
  4. Provide accountability to those served;
  5. Transition to the return of a significant share of research infrastructure funding to the departments.
  6. Meet the university mandate to improve financial controls

The center will be led by Ms. Laura Newton, and will be housed on the second floor of the Vogt Building. It will also serve as a pilot study for UofL to examine how it might implement similar shared service centers across the university, as part of its 21st Century Initiative.

We will plan to host an Open House event sometime soon after the July 1 date, so everyone can stop by and see the new center.

Out of Our Element: Louisville Baja’s experience in Quebec

Winter 2014 in Louisville has been pretty rough compared to recent years; sub-zero temperatures, several inches of snow, and plenty of snow days and delayed schedule days on campus.  While in Canada, we accumulated more snow in 24 hours (the 72nd consecutive day of snowfall in Quebec) than we had in Louisville this winter!  Walking track to track on dynamic day usually meant sinking into waist deep snow at least once or twice and the tracks were not marked with cones but were just carved out of the snow that had accumulated over the past 72 days.  Travelling from Montreal to Quebec City was interesting as we were the only team to attend that did not own a set of snow tires for their truck.  We were clearly “Out of Our Element.”

Upward Trajectory

by John S. Usher, Associate Dean

UofL J.B. Speed School of Engineering 2020 Strategic Plan

UofL J.B. Speed School of Engineering 2020 Strategic Plan

President James Ramsey proudly talks often about the University of Louisville, and its “upward trajectory”. Here at Speed School, we have a large number of initiatives underway that will help add some energy to keep that trajectory pointed in the right direction. We are working diligently on a plan to initiate the Institute for Product Realization and Innovation in the 39-acre Belknap Research Park that is being developed right behind Speed School. Look for a major announcement on that plan coming soon. Our Department of Engineering Fundamentals is establishing a Center for Teaching and Learning Engineering that will help us research and apply new approaches for delivering our courses. We are rolling out a new website in the next few weeks. We have implemented a new system called Digital Measures for recording and measuring faculty productivity. We have expanded our K-12 outreach programs and are even offering a summer camp in our fantastic cleanroom where students will actually make their own semiconductors. Our development office is busy with a large fundraising effort to finance a multi-million dollar renovation of the nearly 80-year old JB Speed Building. The architect’s plans reveal some exciting new features including a large glass atrium on the back of the building, a central staircase added to an open lobby, new student collaborative areas, space for new business operations, a Math Emporium and video production area, a rooftop garden, and a brick plaza behind the building. The plaza will change the back side of Speed School by replacing the existing parking lot with a beautiful space for students to gather, and relax and interact. The plaza will become the center of the Speed Campus and serve as an effective connection between JBS, Duthie, Sacket and WS.

We have so much going on that sometimes it’s hard to keep track of it all. For a more formal look at our plans, follow this link to see our strategic plan!