Welcome from the Chair

Ellen Arruda
Ellen Arruda, Maria Comninou Collegiate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Tim Manganello/BorgWarner Department Chair of Mechanical Engineering

Welcome to the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) at the University of Michigan (UM). We are one of the best mechanical engineering programs anywhere as measured by undergraduate and graduate program rankings, amount of high-quality space, research expenditures, global partnerships, and student-led efforts. In 2018 we’re celebrating a major milestone, our 150th anniversary. The UM ME program pioneered the field 150 years ago, and continues to be a world leader in research and education, both basic and translational, from bio- and health systems, emerging manufacturing, energy and environment, to future transportation and beyond.

Our vibrant ME community includes 72 tenured/tenure-track faculty, 19 research faculty, 55 staff members, over 550 graduate students (including over 270 PhD students), over 870 undergraduate students, and a network of over 16,600 living alumni.

Here in ME at UM you’ll find world-class research facilities, fantastic learning spaces including classrooms, laboratories, and maker spaces, enthusiastic faculty experts, staff members who are professional partners in the research, teaching, and service enterprise, and the brightest students whose entrepreneurial spirit and desire to help society are nurtured and enabled. Ours is a proud culture of innovation in mechanical engineering education and community engagement. 

Our students excel in the classroom and in experiential learning endeavors. A total of 23 UM ME graduate students have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships over the past three years. This is the largest number of awardees for any ME department. Information from senior year surveys indicates that 75-90 percent of our students have had an internship and that more than half participated in a student team. These numbers translate to success after graduation as well with close to 90 percent of our alums reporting being employed following graduation and that more than half have either earned or are in the process of earning an advanced degree. 

The ME department excels at and takes much pride in our educational efforts, allowing students to gain unique study experiences in both 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 entrepreneurial activities – from BLUElab to MRacing and the Solar Car team.

Our faculty colleagues are shining stars who have earned many prestigious awards from professional engineering societies for their innovative, impactful research and teaching. The Department has 10 National Academy of Engineering members, 79 professional society fellows, 5 NSF PECASE awardees, 39 NSF CAREER awardees, four journal chief editors, and 73 journal associate editor/editorial board appointments. 

Mechanical engineering is a broad discipline and at UM we have research strengths in many areas including artificial intelligence, automotive engineering, bioengineering, biosystems, combustion, computation, controls, design, dynamics, energy, environment, fluid mechanics, health systems, manufacturing, mechanics of materials, mechatronics, micro-engineering, nano-engineering, power systems, robotics, solid mechanics, sustainability, thermal sciences, and transportation. The Department’s annual research expenditure is over $35 million, placing us among the most highly funded ME programs in the nation.

The Department has recently completed 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 main ME building, the George G. Brown (GGB) building, is a world-class facility dedicated to a wide spectrum of research activities.

In addition, the Department has completed another major project: a $50 million renovation of the original GGB building. The project has achieved several important goals, including the creation of a world-class student-centric educational facility, consisting of a modern classroom, teaching labs, machine shops, an advising center, and the Findley learning center. Instructional design, fabrication, and laboratory spaces are co-located so they are conducive to collaborative teamwork and innovation through the undergraduate experience. 

I am honored and excited to lead this fantastic mechanical engineering department as its 18th Department Chair. The products and processes that mechanical engineers create are critical to our physical future. Mechanical Engineering at Michigan is one of the best places in the world to be if you desire to engage in creative solutions that improve our quality of life and make the world safer, better, and cleaner. Join ME and find out for yourself!

Ellen Arruda
Tim Manganello/BorgWarner Department Chair and
Maria Comninou Collegiate Professor of Mechanical Engineering