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Welcome from the Chair

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Kon-Well Wang, Stephen P. Timoshenko Collegiate Professor and Tim Manganello/BorgWarner Department Chair of Mechanical Engineering

Welcome to the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) at the University of Michigan (U-M), one of the nation's top mechanical engineering programs with an over 140-year history and a strong, clear vision for the future. With 63 tenured or tenure track faculty, 29 research faculty and lecturers, 55 staff, over 600 undergraduate and 430 graduate students and a network of some 16,000 living alumni, U-M ME is a tremendous force in generating new paradigms in mechanical engineering.

The U-M ME department consistently has been ranked among the top mechanical engineering programs nationwide. In the recent National Research Council (NRC) assessment of U.S. PhD programs, U-M ME earned exceptional marks, leading to composite NRC rankings among the highest rated ME departments.

Our faculty are well recognized for the foresight, innovation and impact of their work, evident by the many distinguished awards earned from professional engineering societies. In academic year 2011-12, the Department had four National Academy of Engineering members, 71 professional society fellows, four National Science Foundation (NSF) PECASE awardees, 29 NSF CAREER awardees, five journal chief editors, and 75 journal associate editor/editorial board appointments.

The Department's research efforts are having significant impact on our society as well as on the scientific community. We are strong in the fundamental disciplines of mechanical engineering and in various thematic areas: automotive engineering; biomechanics, biosystems, and health; design and manufacturing; dynamics, systems and controls; energy and environment; fluids; mechanics and materials; mechatronics; micro- and nano-engineering; and thermal sciences. We have strategically built critical mass and integrated the new emerging fields with core mechanical engineering. The Department's annual research expenditure is over $34 million, showing strong and continuous growth and placing us among the most highly funded ME programs in the nation.

The ME department has long been home to several world-class research centers: the Automotive Research Center, the NSF Engineering Research Center for Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems, the GM/U-M Institute of Automotive Research and Education, and the SM Wu Manufacturing Research Center. Our vision also has led to the recent development of new multidisciplinary, center-type activities led by our faculty: the Advanced Battery Coalition for Drivetrains; a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative for potentially converting waste energy into usable electricity; a Ground Robotics Research Center covering all aspects of mobile robots and autonomous vehicles; two NSF Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation programs, one to explore linkages between the transportation and electric power grid infrastructures via plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and the other to explore biologically-inspired adaptive structures; and a Department of Energy U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center on clean vehicles and vehicle electrification.

The Department is now engaging in a major $46-million new building project, with the vision to shape the future of mechanical engineering. This new three-story research complex, an approximately 63,000-square-foot addition to the current ME main building, will be completed in Spring 2014. It will be a world-class facility dedicated to a wide spectrum of research activities where mechanical engineering intersects with emerging nano-, micro- and bio-technologies.

As construction continues on the new research complex addition, the Department is about to undertake another major project: a $50 million interior renovation of the existing building. The project will achieve several important goals for ME, including the ability to create a world class educational facility. We will consolidate instructional design, fabrication and laboratory spaces so they are conducive to collaborative, cross-disciplinary work and develop innovative spaces for the “Design, Build, Test” pedagogic paradigm.

The ME department excels and takes much pride in our education efforts, allowing students to gain unique study experiences both in Ann Arbor and abroad. We have demonstrated strong leadership in global education with partners in Asia, Europe and Africa and in new education programs in energy systems engineering, robotics/autonomous vehicles, global health and interdisciplinary design science. Our students also have further broadened their experience by actively participating in various team and entrepreneurial activities - from BLUElab to MRacing and the Solar Car Team.

In summary, the U-M ME department is thriving, making significant contributions to research, education and many other aspects of society. Building upon such excellence, our department is actively defining and shaping the future of mechanical engineering.

We hope you'll join us!

Kon-Well Wang
Tim Manganello/BorgWarner Department Chair and
Stephen P. Timoshenko Collegiate Professor of Mechanical Engineering