seems the hurricane season is upon us, and the nightly news
is filled with sobering scenes of the latest mighty storm.
Frances powered a swath of destruction through Florida, and
Ivan cut the party short in New Orleans. To most of us watching
it on TV, hurricane and tornado devastation is unreal and
frightening. After the news, you hit the off button on your
remote, and think "Whew, glad I don't live there."
Still, we like to watch and read about storms, which is why
I think you'll enjoy reading this month's Prism
article, "Storm Riders."
Kurt Gurley, a civil engineering professor at the University
of Florida, and his students, are carrying out an innovative
research project on hurricanes and the damage they do. This
means chasing the storms, setting up measuring instruments
in their paths, and establishing "ground truth."
The plan is to come up with how to better protect property
and lives through revised building codes and construction
practices in hurricane prone areas.
If Gurley is the wind guy, Marc Edwards is "The
Water Guy," and this article looks at one engineer's
10-year struggle to get the word out about the dangers and
damage of lead-laden water. Edwards is a civil engineer and
a leading expert in water corrosion in home plumbing. In the
mid '90s he started getting calls from homeowners in
the nation's capital having problems with pinhole leaks
in their home plumbing systems. He figured out that the water
had dangerously high levels of lead, and it was the lead that
was eating up the copper pipes. Neither the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) nor the District of Columbia Water
and Sewer Authority (WASA) wanted to hear about it. Edwards
persevered, but not without a toll on both his finances and
This month's cover story
looks at the use of nontenure-track faculty in engineering
schools. Such faculty represent a small fraction of the teaching
hours in most engineering colleges today. This article examines
why this remains the case despite cuts in state budgets and
tightened school budgets. A recent policy statement issued
by the AAUP noted that nontenure-track faculty are often hired
in hurried circumstances, as opposed to the rigorous national
searches for tenure-track faculty. AAUP also said contract
faculty are often not properly reviewed and given chances
to advance. The deans interviewed for this story agree that
those lapses may happen elsewhere, but not at their schools.
Read this article and see what you think.
As usual, we have tried to provide an interesting mix of
stories that will resonate in your lives as engineering educators.
If you have thoughts or comments, I would welcome hearing
Frank L Huband
Executive Director and Publisher