Dean Venkat Releases His "State of the College" Report

May. 19, 2011

Dear Colleagues:

Academic year 2010-2011 was very busy and challenging, but productive and positive!

On the positive note:

  • In spite of the budget crisis, hiring was in full-swing. We hired (or are in the process of hiring) the following: Systems Administrator, Director of Advising Center, a third Advisor, Director of Development, Director of Communications & Events, NSF EPSCoR funded two tenure track faculty (CEE and ECE) and CEE Chair. With these hires some of the basic needs of various units are addressed.
  • Our financial obligations to start-up, salary, and etc., are considerably lower than in Summer 2010. We are on our way to financial solvency.
  • Undergraduate enrollment is still moving up (1657 vs. 1245 in 2004). · Master’s enrollment is holding steady at 182 in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.
  • PhD enrollment has increased slightly 74 currently versus 62 in 2009-2010).
  • In 2010, we graduated 56 Master students and 19 doctoral students.
  • The ABET visit for CEE, CpE, EE and ME was a great success and we are hoping for a positive accreditation report.
  • Senior Design-MBA collaboration has resulted in UNLV winning the Southern Nevada Business Plan Competition and the Nevada Governor’s Cup Business Plan Competition (1st Place: Scuba Solutions- ME project and 2nd Place: MAD Sensor- ECE project). Scuba Solutions is a Limited Liability Corporation now. Mad Sensor is working on forming a company also.
  • Five projects were introduced in to the Mendenhall Hands-on Competition for faculty. The quality of the projects was excellent and some of them have potential for education grant funding and Intellectual Property application. Winners are: First Place: Venkatesan Muthukumar, Second Place: Laxmi Gewali and Brendan O’Toole and Third Place (John Wang and Yingtao Jiang).
  • This year we participated in nearly all of the CCSD High School Career/College Fairs (nearly 30 events) and reached thousands of potential future engineering students. On the day of the Spring Senior Design, the competition was visited by over 400 CCSD students who also toured the college campus. Three new undergraduate scholarships were added increasing the total scholarships awarded from $212,038 to $314,652, this year. This makes Engineering the college with the second highest amount of scholarships after Hotel within UNLV.
  • A new doctoral fellowship (worth $32K a year) funded by NSTec will be announced shortly. The fellowship will help promote our research in areas related to the interests of NSTec such as Nuclear Engineering and other related areas.
  • Research infrastructure was improved through help with technical writing (Ms. Julie Longo). Writing workshops were organized for graduate students.
  • We started the process of recognizing and promoting our expertise in renewable, biomedical, security engineering, transportation and water and environmental engineering.
  • We finally resolved long standing Indirect Cost Return issues We also created bylaws for the operation of college Research Centers.
  • We started strong outreach efforts to collaborate with local companies in R & D (NSTec, Varian Medical Systems and Zappos).
  • We are collecting and disseminating our research data within and outside UNLV. · College level awards were decided by experts from outside the college and industry partners.
  • In addition to increasing the award amounts for teaching and Research awards (from $1K to $2K), new awards were introduced for best thesis, dissertation and poster. · New event, Graduate Celebration, was inaugurated to celebrate the work of our graduate students. The event was a success.
  • Despite the significant reduction of earmarks, research expenditures are $7,400,000 (TRC is not included in this figure).
  • Working College of Sciences and College of Education on several STEM education type projects. Engineering will be included in the active Center for Math Science Education and the center will become Center for Math Science and Engineering Education shortly.
  • Barbara Luke and Yitung Chen were recognized as fellows of their professional societies and Woosoon Yim received the Harry Reid Silver State Research Award.
  • TRC is back in the college and doing extremely well in terms of funding, new projects and media coverage
  • Our college and its activities received positive local and national press. Challenges we face:
  • Preparing for unpredictable budget fluctuations.
  • Improving undergraduate enrollment and retention.
  • Improving the ranking of our undergraduate and graduate programs. We hope to have all of our programs within the top 100 of the US News ranking within the next 5 years.
  • Maintaining and improving enrollment levels in graduate programs especially after the recently imposed additional Transcript Validation fees.
  • Setting productivity measures and developing workload development plan to successfully accomplish the teaching, research and service missions of the college.
  • Expanding competitive and collaborative proposal writing efforts within and outside the college
  • Increasing R & D projects with industries by paving the way for easy collaboration.
  • Strengthening our college research centers and making them interdisciplinary and inclusive.
  • Increasing faculty participation in college events and activities such as recruitment, senior design competition, graduate celebration etc.
  • Garnering more donations for undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, distinguished professorships and endowed chairs.
  • Developing an international presence through collaboration with universities, especially in East Asia.
  • Nominate deserving faculty and student candidates for University, System, State and national awards.

Overall, the year has been a very positive one due to all of you and your commitment, interest and efforts. We, in the Dean's Office, appreciate you working with us to make this possible. Happy Summer Holidays! We look forward to a productive and positive new year! Rama and the Dean’s Office Team.