University of Vermont

Preserve, Persevere, and Progress: The State of the College 2006

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Measures to Reach Our Goals

As with any objectives, there are metrics that help evaluate our progress toward our goals.

Recent Hires

Certainly, the most important and exciting highlights of the last year are our recent hires. After international searches, we are very proud to announce that the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences has hired ten new faculty members, with degrees in aerospace, chemical, civil, electrical, environmental, and mechanical engineering and mathematics.


Much of our success in this area is directly attributable to our outstanding administrative team led by Assistant Dean Dan Harvey and his colleagues.

When I arrived, two engineering programs (mechanical and civil) were on "show cause not to revoke accreditation." We prepared for and successfully negotiated review processes for these and one brand new (environmental) engineering program. We recently were notified by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology that we received the highest level of accreditation (NGR, next general review). All our programs are now accredited to September 30, 2010. As wonderful as this news is, we cannot and must not rest on our laurels. Under the leadership of Jeff Marshall, we are already preparing for our next review.

In addition to accreditation, we accomplished the following:

  • Developed and implemented a new Equal Workload Policy to encourage and ensure productivity consistent with University and College goals. To insure fairness, the faculty has until Fall of 2007 before the policy is fully implemented.
  • Designed and supervised renovations of Perkins and Votey Halls.
  • Searched for and hired two associate deans, for research and academic affairs.
  • Passed new College by-laws — after a great deal of discussion and lobbying — by an overwhelming majority, 33-2-2.
  • Established a facilities committee to assist in advising the dean on space allocation issues.
  • Reestablished a budget. We worked with the Office of Financial Analysis and Budgeting to clearly define and establish a budget (this had not been done for many years) with a 5% increase in base operating budget.
  • Conducted a college-wide climate survey led by the Office of Affirmative Action.
  • Re-created the web site — again.
Undergraduate Education

Much administrative support for our students is in large measure attributable to Associate Dean Jim Burgmeier, Assistant Dean Joan Jordan, and Director of Student Success Joan Rosebush.

  • Curriculum 21. We initiated a massive curriculum reform effort to:
    • reduce the number of credit hours required for an engineering degree;
    • double the percent of open electives in the curriculum;
    • move to a learner-based, hands-on curriculum;
    • develop a Bachelor of Arts degree in engineering, among many others;
    • develop a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering science; and
    • implement student portfolios.

  • Dean's Distinguished Lecturer Series, which included:
    • Stephen Wolfram, founder of Mathematica and author of A New Kind of Science (over 300 attendees)
    • Linda Trocki, Corporate Vice-President, Bechtel
    • Maria Klawe, former Dean, Princeton University, and President, Harvey Mudd College
    • Nick Donofrio, Executive Vice-President, IBM (over 200 attendees)

  • Design Clinic. We established a clinic for which industries pay a fee ($30,000-$40,000 each) to have engineering seniors work on industrial senior design projects. We are negotiating with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters as a pilot program.

  • Student Essay Contest. We established a contest on the theme of "Unity of Knowledge." Winners read their essays at graduation.

The applicant pool grew to 937, an increase of 46% over 2004. Although the numbers of matriculating students are slightly lower than last year, they are up 16% over 2004. The percent of student in ACE 7-9 that are matriculating is up from 55% in 2004 to 62%.

  • In a research-focused retreat in December 2005, we identified complex systems analysis and engineering as our "spire of excellence."
  • We visited MITRE Corporation to discuss collaboration on complex systems and Senator Patrick Leahy's office to discuss our exciting activities in this area.
  • We are developing a bioengineering doctoral program with the dean of the medical school.
  • Two associate deans and I visited China to develop relationships with Tshingua University and Peking University.
  • We are developing a relationship with the University of Tasmania. We have exchanged faculty and have submitted a joint National Science Foundation proposal.
Grant Activity

We received an almost 100% funding increase compared with 2004. This increase includes the highly publicized Global Challenge grant, the subject of a Christian Science Monitor article.

Fiscal Year '04 77 proposals submitted
31 proposals awarded
Fiscal Year '06 74 proposals submitted
40 proposals awarded

Graduate Enrollment

At the graduate level we have 26 new students, for a total graduate population of 79, the majority of whom are master's students. We must increase this number significantly and shift the balance much more heavily to a doctoral-weighted program!

Outreach/Public Relations

We took a proactive approach to outreach. Dawn Densmore's Governor's Institute drew national media attention and participants from as far away as the Virgin Islands. We visited the Chronicle of Higher Education, which resulted in very favorable article about math education at UVM. I was also asked to keynote the conference in Texas of Civil Engineering Department heads, and talk about the future of engineering education and what we are doing at UVM.


We hired a development officer and assembled a development plan. Our development success, which is in no small manner attributable to the hard work and diligence of Kim Aldous, includes:

  • Increase of gifts to the college from $200,000 in 2004 to $376,000 in 2006 — almost double!
  • Increase in number of donors from 181 to 377 — more than double!

As exciting as this news is, however, we are ranked sixth out of the seven traditional colleges and schools here at UVM in terms of overall fund-raising. We must do better!


Current initiatives that will assist the College include the following:

In the coming year, we will continue our Dean's Distinguished Lecturer Series with a focus on complex systems. Lecturers are:

  • Julio Ottino, Dean, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, Northwestern University, who is an expert on complex systems and a finalist for curator of the Getty Museum;
  • Jim Spohrer, Director of Service Science, Management and Engineering, IBM, Almaden, California;
  • Norm Augustine, retired Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Lockheed Martin, and author of Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future;
  • David Krakauer, Professor, Santa Fe Institute, whose research is at the interface of evolutionary biology, applied mathematics and computer science; and
  • Yaneer BarYam, President, New England Complex Systems Institute.

We will also address a space report on the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. It is in this College that we see perhaps the greatest mismatch between the size and quality of our facility and our aspirations for excellence. Except for the College of Medicine, Engineering and Mathematics will have the largest year-deficit (in the year 2013) of research lab space (22,000 ASF).

Next page: Keys to Our Success
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See also: State of the College: 2007