Michigan Tech Offers Nation's First Peace Corps Master's International Mechanical Engineering Program

by Jennifer Donovan, director of public relations

The US Peace Corps has approved the establishment of a Peace Corps Master's International (PCMI) program in mechanical engineering at Michigan Tech, the first and only one of its kind in the nation. It brings to six the number of PCMI programs at Tech, the most offered by any university in the country.

Michigan Tech has PCMI programs in Applied Science Education, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Forestry, Mitigation of Natural Geological Hazards, Rhetoric and Technical Communication and now, Mechanical Engineering.

The programs combine academic study with supervised, practical field experience and research. After completing a program of on-campus academic work, Peace Corps Master's International students serve two years with the Peace Corps. Then they return to Michigan Tech for one additional semester to complete their degree requirements.

"People often don't think about mechanical engineering in connection with the Peace Corps," said Bill Predebon, chair of the department, "but many Peace Corps projects, such as pumps and indigenous energy systems, demand mechanical engineering skills."

One focus of the new program in mechanical engineering will be identification and use of appropriate technologies in developing countries. "For technology to be effective, it should meet a need, but also take into account available local resources and capabilities," explained John Gershenson, professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics and a codirector of the new Peace Corps graduate program. "It also needs to integrate well with local customs and lifestyles."

The Peace Corps program is likely to shake up the image of mechanical engineering, predicted Michele Miller, an associate professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics and codirector of the new program. "Peace Corps students will apply their skills in much different ways than our traditional mechanical engineering master's degree students," she said. "I expect they will educate faculty and students back at Michigan Tech about what is possible and what is needed in our discipline."

The first students will begin the new Peace Corps program in fall 2009.

Roshan D'Souza, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering–engineering mechanics, was recently selected to receive the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' 2008 Computers and Information in Engineering Young Engineer Award.

The award recognizes engineers under the age of 35 who are making outstanding contributions to applications of computers in engineering.

D'Souza earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. He also holds an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Arizona State University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology in Surathkal, India.

Specifically, D'Souza will be recognized for his work in interactive simulation of agent-based models. D'Souza's other research interests include geometry, solid modeling, graph theory, features technology and manufacturing to generate cost-efficient manufacturing plans directly from a CAD model.

You can read more in Tech Today about his work here:
http://www.admin.mtu.edu/urel/ttoday/previous.php?issue=20080903&id=6123&nav=1#1 .

Winner of Page Prize Contest Announced

submitted by Accounting Services

Payroll Coordinator Carol Wiitanen (Human Resources) is the winner of Accounting Service's recent page prize contest, held in conjunction with ImageNow training sessions.

For the contest, we asked for the number of pages scanned in 333,716 documents as of Aug. 19. The correct answer was 1,113,956 pages, and Carol was the closest with her guess, 1,082,822.

We would also like to thank all of the participants in the ImageNow training sessions. If you have additional questions, please contact either Bobbie Dalquist, rbdalqui@mtu.edu , or Eddie Jean Johnson, eddie@mtu.edu .

Flags Flown at Half-Staff Today, Monday

Flags will be lowered today, Friday, Sept. 19, and Monday, Sept. 22, in honor of two Michigan servicemen who died while on active duty in Afghanistan supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Friday, Sept. 19
Senior Chief Petty Officer John Wayne Marcum, 34, of Flushing, died Sept. 12 from injuries sustained while conducting combat operations on Sept. 11. Officer Marcum was temporarily forward deployed from his assignment at Naval Special Warfare Development Group, Dam Neck, Va.

Monday, Sept. 22
Sgt. 1st Class Gregory A. Rodriguez, 35, of Weidman, died Sept. 2 from wounds suffered when his mounted patrol came under small-arms fire. He was assigned to the K-9 unit of the 527th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th MP Brigade, Ansbach, Germany.

Reminder: Retirement Ice Cream Social Today for Doyle

Join the Student Development staff at an ice cream social to celebrate (or mourn) the retirement of Dawn Doyle today, Friday, Sept. 19, 1-4 p.m. in the Begg Conference Room of the Peter J. Grant Hockey Educational Center.

Dawn has worked at Michigan Tech since Aug. 22, 1983. Please stop by to wish her well in her retirement.

Reminder: Parade of Nations Tomorrow

The Parade of Nations will begin at 11 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 20, in front of the Hancock Middle School, and it will end at the Dee Stadium in Houghton at approximately noon.

"Weaving Cultural Harmony" is the theme of the 2008 parade and festivities, which will take place in the Dee following the parade.

Festivities will include performances from student organizations and local favorites and a feature performance by "Fast Horses," the Minnesota-based Lakota family music and dance troupe. Performers include Jan Arnold, Chinese Students and Scholars Association, Eric Tangko, Camilo, African Student Organization, Malaysian Student Association, Batucobre, Yustia Sari, International Student Association and The Troupe. Prizes will be awarded between performances.

Parade of Nations T-shirts will be available for sale. Sizes range from adult small to extra large, $10 each; XXL, $12 each; and youth medium, $10 each.

At least 44 vendor booths will be on hand, including food booths selling both meals and sample portions and representing Caribbean, Mexican, Asian, Cajun/Creole, Chinese, Italian, Malaysian, Romanian, Welsh, Finnish, African, Indian, and Korean ethnicities.

There will be a children's activity tent along with free pony rides.

Admission to the festivities is free and open to the public. Questions regarding the Parade of Nations can be directed to Educational Opportunity at 487-2920, coordinator of the event.

Transportation Available from Campus to Parade of Nations

Transportation will be available from the Memorial Union to Hancock for the start of the Parade of Nations, to be held tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 20.

Buses will run approximately every 20 minutes, starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 10:30 a.m.

Student Organization Advisor Session Sept. 25

The Office of Student Activities will offer hour-long sessions for student organization advisors at noon and 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 25, in Memorial Union Ballrooms 1 and 2. Student Activities staff will cover topics including risk management, re-registration, funding, resources and understanding students.

Travel Grants Available from the BRC

The Biotechnology Research Center (BRC) is accepting applications for the Fall 2008 BRC Travel Grants.

The BRC travel grants promote biotechnological research and achievement by providing financial assistance to Michigan Tech graduate and undergraduate students and postdoctoral scientists who present their research at scientific meetings.

The awards are merit-based and are offered twice per year. The spring semester deadline is April 15.

To apply, complete the application form available at http://www.biotech.mtu.edu . Provide all the necessary information as specified in the application instructions. Send application materials to Mary Tassava, mltassav@mtu.edu , by
Wednesday, Oct. 15.

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Awards will be announced near the end of the award month.

If you have questions, contact Tassava at mltassav@mtu.edu or 487-2959.

Sign Up Online for Direct Deposit of Refunds, Reimbursements

Non-payroll payments from Accounts Payable can be deposited directly into your bank account, with no waiting for a check in the mail. Notification of payment is sent via email.

Students and employees can now view and change direct deposit allocations and sign up for direct deposit of reimbursements and student refunds via Banweb.

Employees, log in to Banweb at http://www.banweb.mtu.edu and click on "Employee Self Service." Then click on "Direct Deposit Destination" and follow the directions to add, delete or change your banking information.

Students, log in to Banweb and click on "Other Payments/Direct Deposits," and then click "Direct Deposit Destination."

How Does It Work?

• You will get an email from Accounting Services confirming the amount of your payment or refund and the date it will be transmitted to your bank.

• Confirm with your financial institution that your payment or refund has been deposited into your account before writing checks against these funds.

• In the unlikely event that your bank does not accept the direct deposit, Accounting Services will review the problem and notify you (this most frequently occurs because you have entered an incorrect bank account number or routing code during the sign-up process).

• If you change accounts or banks after signing up, change your information online.

MSE Seminar Tuesday

Jon Stinson, of the Interventional Cardiology Division at Boston Scientific, will present an MSE seminar, "Technical Feasibility Assessment of Bioabsorbable Metal Stent," Tuesday, Sept. 23, 1-2 p.m. in M & M U113.

For more information or an abstract, contact Margaret Rothenberger at mproth@mtu.edu .

Chairs for Sale in the Memorial Union

The Memorial Union is selling 200 burgundy chairs for $5 each.

If you are interested, contact Cynthia Hodur at cmhodur@mtu.edu or 487-2543.

University property may only be transferred between departments; it may not be given or sold to individuals.

Teaching at Tech: Connections

by William Kennedy, director, Center for Teaching, Learning and Faculty Development

One of the things that I dislike most about end-of-the-term teaching evaluation forms is they commonly provide us with too little feedback, too late. Unless we specifically encourage students to do otherwise, the vast majority of them quickly fill in the bubbles on the front of the blue form and choose not to flip over the paper and provide some written feedback about what they liked about the class and what could have been better. We are left wondering what a 3.754 on question 20 really means. Those who do take a minute to write a comment often offer only a word of general criticism or praise.

Many contemporary students see themselves as consumers of everything: IPods, designer clothes and higher education. From their perspective, part of our job as professors is to know what they want and to seek to provide them with instruction that's clear, to the point and not too tedious or difficult. Ask for too much out of class time, and you'll hear about it, but only after the fact on your evaluation forms.

When instructors ask me what they can do to improve their evaluation scores, I tell them that they need to create a dialogue with their students early in the term. Creating an atmosphere where students feel comfortable to offer suggestions or constructive criticism or to make requests reduces the likelihood that students will express their pent-up frustrations on that end-of-the-term anonymous evaluation form.

Welcoming constructive criticism not only helps with teaching scores, but it also creates an atmosphere in which students can ask questions, offer guesses and . . . well . . . learn. One way to bootstrap a more open atmosphere in class is to use "one-minute papers" at about this point in the semester. Prepare half-sheets of paper with two questions on them and space for students to write their responses. One question should be something like, "What about the course is helping you to learn?" The other should be something like, "What about the course could I change or improve that would make it a better learning experience for you?" Pass them out in the last five or 10 minutes of class and have students drop them off before they leave the classroom.

Before the next class, read them and sort them into three stacks: good ideas, bad ideas and silly remarks. Next class period, tell the class that you looked over their suggestions carefully and that you will implement those that you agree might make the class better for everyone. Mention one or two that you will implement and then say why you can't do one or two of the ideas that aren't so useful.

If you do this, I guarantee that you will be amazed by the response of the students. First, they will be more open with you and even more willing to share their ideas in class. This simple exercise increases the likelihood that you will be able to sustain instructional dialogue throughout the semester. Second benefit? Your end-of-the-term teaching evaluation scores will improve significantly. Too good to be true? Try it.

Michigan Tech Notables

Professor emeritus Harley L. Sachs (Humanities) has won first prize in the annual Upper Peninsula of Michigan Writers Association fiction contest for his short story "My Enlistment." It will be awarded Oct. 4 at the association's annual meeting, which will be held in Iron Mountain. Since his retirement in 1986, Sachs has published 21 books, 19 of which are still in print.

Job Posting

Staff job descriptions are available in the Human Resources Office or at http://www.admin.mtu.edu/hro/postings . For more information regarding staff positions, call 487-2280 or email jobs@mtu.edu .

Faculty job descriptions can be found at http://www.admin.mtu.edu/hro/facpers/facvac.htm . For more information regarding faculty positions, contact the academic department in which the position is posted.

Staff Job Posting

Facilities Management—Building Operations
Regular, full-time, nine-month position; 40 hours/week, third shift
AFSCME internal posting only

Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer.