Dear Engineering Alumni
and Friends,

Over the summer, the School of Engineering formed a Vision Council to help with the strategic planning of the school. Twenty-seven alumni and non-alumni joined the council. These distinguished members include:

    • A former chancellor of LSU
    • A former director of NASA's
    Kennedy Space Center
    • A deputy director of Oak Ridge
    National Lab
    • A former space shuttle
    astronaut, deputy director
    of NASA's Johnson
    Space Center
    • A former secretary of the
    U.S. Senate
    • A former NFL player
    • CEOs, physicians, lawyers,
    managers of military research
    labs and recent graduates
On Sept. 9, 18 of the Vision Council members converged on the Oxford campus and spent two days with the engineering school leadership team. They were presented with these questions by the mediator and UM's associate provost and director of strategic planning:
    • How will the School of
    Engineering be defined
    in 2020?
    • What amazing strengths do we
    have to build on today and
    what concerning weaknesses
    will we need to address to
    achieve our goals?
After two days of deliberation, the council presented the school with a dozen "success factors." A few are summarized below:
    • Strong engineering
    • A liberal arts education that
    teaches students how to
    think and learn
    • Communication skills
    • A focus on leadership
In the next six months, the School of Engineering faculty will digest the recommendations and create plans to better educate a new generation of students who are curious, versatile, ambitious and service-minded to meet the challenges of tomorrow. Your comments and suggestions are welcome.


cheng signature
Alex Cheng
Dean of the School of Engineering

Ambassadors share experiences with prospective students

A love for science, technology, engineering and math is at the core of the student ambassadors' mission for the School of Engineering at The University of Mississippi.

"The School of Engineering ambassadors are a service-oriented group who provide a great service not only to Ole Miss but also to the youth of the state and the region," said Scott Kilpatrick, assistant to the dean of the School of Engineering. "Each year, these ambassadors are charged with several key goals, but, first and foremost, they are encouraged to engage students from all grade levels and provide information regarding the opportunities available through engineering careers," Kilpatrick said.

Engineering ambassadors spend most of their time traveling to Mississippi high schools, middle schools and elementary schools to share information on Ole Miss and, specifically, UM's School of Engineering.

But, the ambassadors do more than encourage high school students to attend Ole Miss, said Rebecca Werner, a civil engineering major and student director of the engineering ambassador group.

"A typical weekend for us may include giving tours of our various departments and the campus, but most of the time we share our experiences as students, who just happen to be engineering majors," Werner said.

Kilpatrick said providing prospective students with a glimpse of the Ole Miss experience is perhaps the ambassadors' second most important job.

"When visiting with students, our ambassadors openly share their background and involvement in a variety of activities. This undoubtedly allows prospective students to understand the amazing experiences that are possible here in the School of Engineering," Kilpatrick said.

Spenser Max Smith, a senior civil engineering major, said he became an ambassador to share his love for math and science. "When I was in high school, I figured that my interest would lead me to a career in accounting," Smith said. "Once I came to Ole Miss, I added my other interest in building and construction and came up with civil engineering. It was the best decision I've ever made, and I want to let other students know about the field."

Last year, the Ole Miss engineering ambassadors visited 15 area schools and participated in more than a dozen on-campus visits.

"The ambassadors put a great amount of preparation into developing and organizing classroom and campus visits," Kilpatrick said. "The feedback from teachers and students has been amazing. The engineering ambassadors truly serve as outstanding representatives for Ole Miss and the School of Engineering."

If you are interested in having an Ole Miss engineering ambassador visit your school, please contact Scott Kilpatrick at skilpat@olemiss.edu.


Dear Alumni and Friends,

I'd like to tell you about who we are and what we do. The Engineering Advisory Board consists of 25 elected members and three dean's appointees, most of whom are Ole Miss engineering alumni. Our purpose is to advise and provide support to Dean Cheng and his staff on a variety of issues. Our members range from industry experts and corporate vice presidents to recent graduates. The tie among all of us is an understanding that high quality engineering graduates are needed as leaders in industry, government and academia.

The board meets for two days every spring and fall. Topics for the meeting include student affairs, industry and government relations, and alumni affairs. Board members meet with groups of undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty across the multiple engineering disciplines. Also, board members meet with individual departments to review items such as ABET accreditation, lab improvements, curricula and undergraduate recruiting efforts.

stephen edgeThis meeting, we had the opportunity to hear from UM Provost Morris Stocks and Associate Provost Noel Wilkin. Stocks spoke of the surge in undergraduate enrollment this fall semester, which stands at a 24.8 percent increase over fall 2009. This led to many discussions and recommendations concerning this magnitude of growth and how to sustain such gains while maintaining the close student-to-faculty relationships from which our students benefit. Wilkin spoke about the Engineering Vision Council that met for the first time in early September. The Engineering Vision Council was developed to answer the question, "What does it mean to be an Ole Miss engineer in the 21st century?" The Engineering Advisory Board is looking forward to working with the Vision Council.

Lastly, I would like to speak about the changes in the school in which the board was instrumental in driving. Some issues, such as increasing hours for computer lab access for undergrads, may seem trivial but make a significant impact on our students' ability to learn. Other important issues include planning and fundraising support for many of the renovations underway, including Old Chemistry and Carrier Hall, and the expansion of the Bachelor of Engineering degree to include emphasis areas such as pre-med, public policy and ROTC.

Ole Miss Engineering is celebrating its 110th anniversary this year. You will be seeing more information about this soon. I hope you are as excited about the School of Engineering and the direction it is heading as I am. If you have not been on campus to meet Dean Cheng or his staff members recently, you should come back to campus this fall to enjoy a football game or visit in the spring for the annual Excellence in Engineering banquet.

If you are interested in more information or in serving on the Engineering Advisory Board, you can contact me at stephenedge@olemissalumni.com or Joshua E. Waggoner, School of Engineering director of development, at waggoner@olemiss.edu.

Stephen V. Edge, Chair
Engineering Advisory Board
BSEE 2000