Strategic Plan

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Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Program Educational Objectives:

  1. Meet or exceed the expectations of employers by:
    • Taking on increasing responsibilities such as managing projects and leading teams
    • Making sound business and financial decisions
    • Making innovative contributions that positively impact society and the world
  2. Successfully pursue advanced study
  3. Foster work environments that value diverse viewpoints and enable everyone to work at their highest potential
  4. Structure a career path to achieve professional goals

Goal 1

Increase the visibility of the department and its programs

Objective 1:  Improve rankings in National Research Council and U.S. News and World Report (Graduate and Undergraduate)


  1. Promote department programs and accomplishments through the Graduate seminar series, Annual Report, ASME ME Department Benchmarking study
  2. Host professional society conferences
  3. Faculty national/international visibility by having 80% of faculty on professional society committees or organizing national/international conferences/symposium meetings
  4. 25% of faculty as NSF panel reviewers and/or proposal reviewer: 
  5. Average 3 journal papers per faulty member per year
  6. Increase the level of scholarship by having 3 journal publication per dissertation and 1 publication per thesis
  7. Assist with proposal writing
  8. Implement a department marketing plan

Objective 2:  Improve recognition for faculty, staff, students, and alumni:


  1. Engage Honors and Awards Committee (members – fellow, other national award winners
  2. Use the Drake Model for securing endowed professors/chairs
  3. Provide quality recommendations for staff awards
  4. Incentivize submission of fellowships/scholarships with internal funding per proposal ($150), GRA, GA
  5. GTA support of PhD students beyond the first year requires development of fellowship/scholarship proposal to federal or other agencies, such as, DoD, NASA, NSF
  6. Solicit nominees from faculty and staff
  7. Submit 4 PCA nominees per year
  8. Submit one nominee to the University Award Selection committee per year
  9. Nominate 6 Academy nominees every 2 years

Goal 2

Attract and retain high quality and diverse faculty, staff, and students.

Objective 1:  Reduce student to faculty ratio


  1. Increase number of tenure track faculty
  2. Reduce undergraduate enrollment through higher admission standards
  3. Combination of the above

Objective 2:  Make faculty salaries competitive


  1. Benchmark salaries against other top fifty programs

Objective 3:  Attract and retain high quality staff


  1. Make staff salaries competitive - benchmark staff salaries with those of peer universities
  2. Provide professional development for staff
  3. Work with HR to provide professional development for one staff member per year
  4. Survey staff for development needs

Objective 4:  Continue to improve the quality of recruited faculty


  1. Aggressively pursue top quality faculty candidates
  2. Start up packages competitive with benchmark universities, get the University to provide adequate support
  3. Continue to secure named professorships for new untenured faculty
  4. Review recruitment procedures
  5. Provide continued professional development   opportunities for faculty, e.g., release time., travel funds, etc
  6. Secure 20% of the SHFI hires and suggest new focus areas for SHFI

Objective 5:  Improve retention of faculty


  1. Provide quality mentoring and regular feedback on progress

Objective 6:  Improve diversity


  1. Insure diversity is a criterion during recruitment of faculty and students.
  2. Assess the environment for minority and female faculty.
  3. Recruit minority and female students from the Summer Programs
  4. Design marketing materials to attract minorities and female graduate students.
  5. Seek resources to recruit quality domestic graduate students

Objective 7:  Continue to improve the quality of graduate students


  1. Require PhD GRE of all applicants or within the first semester for MTU students for NSF Graduate fellowships

Goal 3

Grow department resources.

Objective 1:  Increase department funding


  1. Execute Phase II of MEEM Building for the Future Campaign Endowing Excellence
  2. Increase the number of major gift officers assigned to MEEM Campaign
  3. Expand alumni and friends interaction via full-time major gifts officer and chair trips
  4. Increase research overhead

Objective 2:  Increase space for research and education


  1. Form a committee to prepare plans for the design of the new building
  2. Secure the 11th floor

Goal 4

Strengthen the department’s educational program

Objective 1:  Develop curricular innovations


  1. Seek funding from government and industrial agencies
  2. Maintain department support of proposals

Objective 2:  Infuse entrepreneurship into the undergraduate and graduate curricula


  1. Modify existing undergraduate courses at first year through senior year        
  2. Introduce minors in entrepreneurship

Objective 3:  Honors program for undergraduates


  1. Honors section of all our required courses

Objective 4:  Produce leaders


  1. Increase participation in study abroad, co-op, and undergraduate research programs.
  2. Create research certificate/minor
  3. Develop a Peace Corps ME Master International Program

Objective 5:  Safety program


  1. Housekeeping – continual
  2. Safety audits of all labs on a 2 year cycle

Goal 5

Achieve international leadership positions in all of the department’s strategic research thrust areas

Objective 1:  Secure National Centers


  1. Secure 8 endowed faculty chairs/professorships
  2. Continue to create university centers/institutes in each of the Research Groups

Objective 2:  Have a visible role in shaping national, large research concept development


  1. Identify matches between suitable research organization committees and existing faculty
  2. Help “matched faculty” pursue positions and participate  (release time, travel, etc.)
  3. Hire a “research marketer/lobbyist” to help strategically position our faculty

at the front-end of large RFP development activities

Program targets

By Fall 2012: (Enrollment: 1143 UG + 203 GS [100PhD] = 1346) (43 Faculty)*
By Fall 2017: (Enrollment: 1143 UG + 232 GS [129 PhD] = 1275) (43 Faculty)*

*Tenure – track and tenured faculty

Academic Year

PhD Deg/Fac/yr

MS Deg/Fac/yr

UG Deg/Fac/yr









Peer Universities (3)

  • Clarkson University
  • Iowa State University
  • University of Missouri - Rolla

Benchmark Departments

Graduate Programs

  • University of Illinois
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Penn State University
  • Purdue University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic University

Undergraduate Programs

  • University of Michigan
  • Michigan State University
  • Purdue University
  • University of Illinois
  • Kettering University