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May 2015

From the Dean

I'm pleased to announce that on May 1st, 2015, the College of Engineering celebrated the adoption of Creating a Better Future — A Strategic Plan for the Oregon State University College of Engineering 2015-2020. This plan now serves as a map that will guide us toward our destination.

Together, our college and its stakeholders launched the strategic planning project in June 2014 and took it through a transparent, interactive, and well-communicated process. We gathered relevant internal data, external trends in higher education and engineering education, and drafted a concept paper. Through many retreats, focus groups, an all-college survey, task forces, and industry board meetings, the concept paper was assessed, built out, and validated. We then finalized the plan, aligned priorities and budgets, and affirmed performance goal statements.

The college’s strategic plan is guided by the vision to create a better future. It is anchored in the mission to transform lives and enhance society through impactful education and research. The plan is framed around four strategic goals:

  • Become a recognized model as an inclusive and collaborative community.
  • Provide a transformational educational experience that produces graduates who drive change throughout their lives.
  • Lead research and innovation to drive breakthroughs that change the world.
  • Establish the College of Engineering as the partner of choice for industry, government, and academia.

The next five years will be of critical importance to our long-term success. I look forward to our work ahead to advance our college’s mission and to collaboratively prepare graduates who are capable of tackling the world’s most critical, complex, and compelling problems.

Go Beavs!

Scott A. Ashford, Ph.D.
Kearney Professor and Dean
College of Engineering
Oregon State University


Two-legged robot takes walk in the park, leads pack
A team of Oregon State researchers developing a bipedal robot named ATRIAS that, unlike other walking robots, does not use cameras to react to obstacles, caught the eye of CNN, NBC, and other media outlets when the team recently took the robot out for a jaunt across uneven terrain on campus.
Watch the CNN video and read the GT article.

Using LED lights to boost WiFi bandwidth
Thinh Nguyen and Alan Wang, faculty members in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science have invented a new technology that increases the bandwidth of WiFi systems by 10 times using LED lights to transmit information. Integrated with existing WiFi systems, the technology could reduce bandwidth issues in crowded locations, such as airports and coffee shops. Read more and Watch NSF Science Now highlighting this research beginning at 2:07 into episode 34.

Faculty & Staff

Distracted teen drivers: trends, studies, and how to help
In a radio interview on distracted teen driving, David Hurwitz, an assistant professor of transportation engineering, and others discuss new studies about teenage drivers and the role distractions play in automobile crashes, along with the best ways to get teens to pay attention on the road. Listen here (this also has full printed transcript), or use this mp3 link (no transcript).

Why we keep designing robots with human characteristics
Jonathan Hurst, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, says people tend to care more about something when it looks human, and this includes robot designs. Students get excited, reporters write stories, and research funding is easier to secure, he said. More…

Pioneering transparent electronics and the impact today
John Wager, professor and Michael and Judith Gaulke Chair in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and his research team developed the world's first transparent transistor in 2001, which led to the discovery of an oxide thin-film technology (TFT), currently inside the new Apple 5K retina display panel. More…


Grad student wins 2nd place in competition
Jennifer Warner, a master's student in civil engineering in David Hurwitz’s research group, won second place in the 3MT/Scholars' Insights Competition, where she presented "Out of Sight, Out of Mind…Right-Hook Crash Solutions."

Engineering student's double life as a blacksmith
Mechanical engineering undergraduate student Hunter Lottsfeldt is a member of the Oregon State University Blacksmithing Club, whose members are attempting to make knives that replicate Damascus steel – known for its mottled patterns, strength, and toughness. The club’s advisor is Julie Tucker, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. More…

OSU students win first place overall at ASCE competition
Twenty-four Oregon State engineering students attended the annual ASCE Pacific Northwest Student Conference at Idaho State University, where the teams, advised by Tom Miller, associate professor of civil and construction engineering, fared very well:

  • 1st place overall in the competition
  • 2nd place overall in steel bridge category
  • 2nd place overall in concrete canoe category
  • 2nd place in environmental competition
  • 3rd place in technical paper on engineering ethics and engineering liability for construction failures
  • 3rd place in food drive and sculpture

Student team earns 3rd place at national competition
An Oregon State University team of computer science and electrical and computer engineering students earned third place at the Intel-Cornell Cup on May 1-2 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida. More…

Freshman design filtration device, analyzes traffic, lands Intel internship
Amber Meeks, a first-year civil and construction engineering student, jumped into her engineering education with gusto, designing a water filter that uses coffee grounds and potato peels, analyzing traffic patterns at one of Corvallis' most congested intersections, and landing a summer internship at Intel, where she'll pursue her interest in water filtration (and where Intel has named a new internship program after her…and her dad). More…

Questions or comments about Momentum? E-mail Editor@engr.oregonstate.edu

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