By Ray Bert
his career, Gene DeLoatch has done his utmost to attract more minorities
to engineering. And now it's one of his top priorities as ASEE's
morning Eugene Gene DeLoatch jumps into his car and drives
against traffic from his home in Suitland, Md.,a Washington, D.C.,
suburbto north Baltimore, where he's the dean of engineering
at Morgan State University. Although this reverse commute,
as it is known in the D.C. area, makes more sense than traveling in
the opposite direction, it has only become popular in recent years.
DeLoatch was ahead of his time in adopting it 18 years ago.
against the grain is not unusual for ASEE's new president. From
the beginning of his career, he has advocated tapping into urban schools
as the way to fill the nation's desperate need for more engineers.
In recent years, more and more K-12 schools, engineering colleges, corporations,
government agencies, and engineering societies have come to the same
who was born in New York City in 1936, first gravitated toward engineering
in part because of the excitement the field was generating at the time.
He was also interested in foreign languages and considered becoming
a French teacher, but the post-WWII engineering boom of the 1950s and
the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s were hugely influential on the
young African-American, and an engineering career won out.
lot of my own thinking and drive has been shaped by history and the
events of the day, he says. When I went to college back
in 1954, engineering was coming into a whole new phase. More people
were needed in the field as the shift to a peacetime economy continued.
Until that period, engineering as a profession was dominated almost
entirely by white males.
graduated in 1959 with dual degrees in mathematics and electrical engineering
from a joint five-year program between Tougaloo College in Mississippi
and Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. He later went on to earn his
master's degree in electrical engineering from Brooklyn Polytechnic
Institute, now known as the Polytechnic Institute of New York, in 1967,
and his Ph.D. in bioengineering, also from Polytechnic, in 1972.
settled on a career in education, feeling energized by working with
students. He also felt passionate about changing the status quo. I
grew up with a lot of young guys who were as capable of doing engineering
as I was but knew nothing of it. So I decided to see if I could spread
the word, and that's how I chose to get into education.
a position at Howard University in Washington, D.C., as an instructor
of engineering. Howard was the first school to award engineering degrees
to African-Americans, and, at the time, was turning out more minority
engineers than any other school.
talks about attracting minorities to engineering, the enthusiasm he
brings to the job is clear. However, it was obligation, not missionat
least initiallythat drew him into ASEE. I joined not long
after I started at Howard, because the senior faculty felt that anyone
involved in engineering education should be a member, he says,
adding with a laugh that we were different from young faculty
members today: We followed orders.
12 years at Howard, during which he worked his way up to chairman of
the electrical engineering department, DeLoatch was offered an exciting
new job at Morgan State University. There had been no affordable public
access to engineering education in Baltimorea city heavily populated
with African-Americansand in 1984, the state of Maryland turned
to DeLoatch to launch Morgan's engineering college.
than 20 years after starting from scratch, Morgan State graduates roughly
100-125 engineers per year. In 2001, 88 of the bachelor's recipients
in engineering were African-Americans. DeLoatch, though not the sort
who would ever admit to being satisfied, is clearly pleased that so
many students have succeeded in a demanding field. Like a proud father,
he rattles off the names of a number of Morgan graduates with whom he
stays in touch, who have gone on to positions with major engineering
however, success also serves as a reminder of all that remains to be
accomplished. He wants to make sure that the United States doesn't
fall behind other countries because a lot of talented youngsters who
could have been engineers never make it into the pipeline.
have to get more people trained in engineering and science. Women make
up only 20 percent of the engineers in this country, and African-Americans
and Hispanics account for only 7 percent combined. We've had significant
movement in the minority population in engineering, but now it's
stalled, so the question becomes, what are we going to do for the next
president for the next year, he plans to address that issue and some
other ones, as well. With efforts such as Learnon and the Center
for K-12, there is enough momentum to carry ASEE for a while,
he says, but to get a boost that will carry us past that, we need
to examine what we're doing, to clarify who we are and how we are
different fromand similar toother societies.
has many specific goals for ASEE, from getting more of the members to
become active participants to balancing the needs and influence of large
versus small schools to increasing corporate membership. I love
engineering, and I love education, he says, and ASEE is
and should continue to be the world's premier engineering education
commitment to the people and things he cares about is well known. Take
his granddaughter, Sierra, who is four. When he was in Montreal for
his inauguration as ASEE's president, he knew the little girl was
apprehensive about the new baby her mother was about to deliver. In
spite of a hectic schedule, he made sure there was time to buy her a
present before coming home. Just as he has with inner-city youngsters
who've gone on to study engineering, he sought to make her feel
Bert is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Michael Sanoff, ASEE Today Section Editor/Writer
given by each ASEE section, recognizes the outstanding teaching performance
of an engineering or engineering technology educator. The award consists
of a framed certificate and an appropriate honorarium presented by the
local section. This year's award recipients are:
Indiana University/Purdue University
Angelo J. Perna
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Joseph J. Rencis
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
University of Detroit-Mercy
Sudhir I. Mehta
North Dakota State University
California Polytechnic State University
Barbara B. Bath
Colorado School of Mines
Eric B. Zimmerman
U.S. Military Academy-West Point
Rolf E. Hummel
University of Florida-Gainesville
Outstanding Campus Representative Award
Campus Liaison Board initiated this award to recognize those ASEE Campus
Representatives who have demonstrated staunch support for ASEE on their
campuses. The award consists of a framed certificate of recognition
and is presented at each section's annual meeting. This year's
award recipients are:
University of New Mexico
University of Massachusetts-Lowell
University of Akron
Sudhir I. Mehta
North Dakota State University
San Diego State University
University of Southern Colorado
Richard O. Mines
recognizes high-quality papers that were presented at the ASEE Annual
Conference. Winners of the 5th annual 2002 ASEE Best Paper Awards are:
Paper PIC I
James Pocock and Peter Ridilla
United States Air Force Academy
Paper: Project-based Construction Education
Paper PIC II
John Paul Giolma and Kevin Nickels
Paper: Herding Cats : A Case Study of a Capstone Design Course
Paper PIC III
The Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden
Paper: A Remote Laboratory for Electrical Experiments
Best Paper PIC V
Paper: Instructional Technology, Learning Styles and Academic
Winners for PIC I (James Pocock and Peter Ridilla) and PIC V (Malgorzata
Zywno) share the Best Overall Paper Award.
dean of the University of Arkansas College of Engineering, Otto J.
Loewer, has been appointed founding director of the university's
new Economic Development Institute. Loewer, who served as dean from
1996 until his recent appointment, will be responsible for developing
the institute, whose purpose is to establish linkages with business,
education, community organizations, government, and other partners.
Professor of electrical engineering, Neil M. Schmitt, will serve
as interim dean while a national search is conducted. Schmitt has been
on the UA faculty since 1969, including a stint as the school's
dean of engineering from 1983 to 1996.
J. Gustafson, associate dean for academic affairs and student services
in the College of Engineering at Ohio State University, has been elected
president of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) for
the year 2003-2004. Gustafson is also a professor of food, agricultural,
and biological engineering, for which he also served as departmental
chair from 1987-1998.
Design of Innovation: Lessons from and for Competent Genetic Algorithms
By David E. Goldberg
Kluwer Academic Publishers, Norwell, MA; 2002
248 pp., $79.95
Your Future: The Non-Technical Side of Professional Practice in Engineering
and Other Technical Fields
By Stuart G. Walesh
ASCE Press, Reston, VA; 2000
528 pp., $45
Engineering: Defining the Principles conference will be held in
Sandestin, Florida, May 18-22, 2003. The conference will bring together
engineers and scientists from diverse backgrounds to define the underlying
principles of the emerging field of green engineering, including the
design, commercialization, and use of processes and products that are
feasible and economical while minimizing the generation of pollution
and risk to human health and the environment.
cosponsored by AIChE, will demonstrate how various engineers have dealt
with d the issues of green engineering from a discipline-specific viewpoint.
Additional information on the conference can be found at
or by contacting Martin Abraham, Associate Dean, Research & Graduate
Studies, College of Engineering, University of Toledo, OH; phone: (419)
530-8092, Fax: (419) 530-7392,
Conferences and Meetings, see the ASEE Calendar page at http://asee.org/calendar/
meeting of the ASEE Illinois/Indiana Section will be held April
4-5, 2003 with the theme Engineering the Future. Held at
Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind., topics to be covered include
multi-disciplinary courses, technology in the classroom, collaborative
learning, graduate student preparation, junior college collaboration,
and K-12 outreach programs. Deadline for submission of abstracts is
December 20, 2002.
information, please visit www.valpo.edu/engineering/asee.
Calls for Papers - see http://asee.org/publications/calls.cfm
conferences dying? The ASEE Illinois-Indiana Section doesn't think
so. It is implementing new conference features that appeal to a broader
spectrum of ASEE members.
conferences have a long-standing tradition of providing a forum similar
to ASEE's national conference where engineering and engineering
technology faculty can network and present peer-reviewed papers. At
a time when networking with ASEE members occurred only at conferences,
this format was enough to keep attendance high. But with the ability
to network available from faculty offices and more members attending
the national conference, some sectional conferences are finding themselves
stagnating. The Illinois-Indiana (IL-IN) Section has actively taken
steps to invigorate its sectional conference.
the section began waiving registration fees for graduate students, which
enables students interested in pursuing academic careers an affordable
means of learning about ASEE and the opportunity to network with faculty
members. In addition, a panel discussion on graduate career planning
is offered. The panel, composed of faculty from various institutions,
talks about how to look for an academic position, what it is like to
be a faculty member, and how the tenure process works.
spring 2002 conference hosted by the Illinois Institute of Technology
in Chicago, the ASEE IL/IN student poster competition was born. The
idea is to provide faculty with an opportunity to demonstrate their
success at integrating teaming, communication, and engineering design
by having their students exhibit their team-based design projects. The
purpose is to provide engineering student teams with an opportunity
to practice their visual, written, and oral communication skills in
a conference environment and share their design work with students and
faculty from other colleges and universities; to improve the visibility
of student team design efforts, recognize excellence in student team
design projects, and foster the sharing of ideas about team-based design
projects among ASEE members in the IL/IN section.
for abstracts was sent to the section's engineering and engineering
technology deans and department heads in January asking them to encourage
faculty members to sponsor student teams. Student teams were instructed
to write a one-page narrative giving the purpose and significance of
the team project, the team structure, and a summary of the design and
the most important results. Abstracts were reviewed by the session chair,
revised by the students, and included in the conference proceedings.
Eleven student teams representing six institutions attended the conference.
The IL-IN Section plans to extend the competition to include undergraduate
is another idea on the drawing board for the spring 2003 conferencea
Graduate and Young Faculty Active/ Cooperative Learning Competition.
The idea is to put out a call for abstracts in which a contestant would
describe the engineering concept to be taught, the intended student
audience, learning objectives, and the active or cooperative learning
technique to be employed. The presentation format would allow contestants
20 minutes to teach the proposed engineering concept to conference attendees.
These teaching vignettes would be interspersed with the traditional
peer-reviewed paper presentations.
Section is also looking for opportunities to better include the community
colleges in the section. A joint conference between Bradley University
and Illinois Central College in Peoria, Ill., is being discussed for
Spring 2004. ASEE's new memberships for K-12 teachers opens up
completely new possibilities that the section will be considering.
conferences dying? The IL-IN Section is not ready to roll over