Our college accomplishes great things, and that is in no small part due to the contributions of every one of our faculty and staff. On Feb. 20, 2019, Dean Ian Robertson recognized eight of those individuals, who are not only outstanding citizens of our college and our campus, but whose impact is felt within their field and throughout the world.
Byron Bird Award for Excellence in a Research Publication
Back in 2015, writers of the Institute of Medicine report, “Improving Diagnosis in Health Care,” declared that most people will experience at least one diagnostic error in their lifetime—sometimes with devastating consequences. “Urgent change,” they wrote, “is warranted to address this challenge.”
Pascale Carayon is driving this change.
In fact, the conceptual framework for that Institute of Medicine report is based on the article, “Work system design for patient safety: The SEIPS [pronounced “seeps”] model.” Pascale and her collaborators published this seminal paper in 2006 in the journal then called Quality and Safety in Health Care.
The goal of this systems engineering intervention is to make changes to the structure and process elements of healthcare to improve patient, employee and organizational outcomes.
And through her vision and research, Pascale has significantly enhanced the body of knowledge that underlies innovative approaches to patient safety efforts.
Bollinger Academic Staff Distinguished Achievement Award for Research Excellence
The EMC3 EIRENE model provides fusion researchers the unique capability to numerically study plasma behavior in multiple dimensions, at the very large scale of a fusion-energy device.
Two researchers in Germany developed this code. However, in Heinke Frerichs, we have an international expert with this model right here on our campus.
Over the course of his career, Heinke has not only become an expert at applying the code, but he also has become one of its lead developers. His adaptations and improvements have expanded its capabilities and applications—so much, in fact, that one of the code’s original authors has said, “Heinke’s innovation capacity with the model and its numerical implementation have grown the capability of the code so substantially that the most pressing challenges in our field can now be addressed.”
One of those adaptations allows researchers to apply the code to both of the leading concepts in magnetic-confinement fusion research. Another enables it to be useful in future development of ITER, an international fusion experiment involving countries that represent almost half the earth’s population.
Through his work, Heinke has enriched the scientific community, enhanced the visibility of our college on an international level, and greatly enhanced the training opportunities we are able to provide our students.
College of Engineering University and Academic Staff Distinguished Achievement Award
Given that electrical and computer engineering has one of the largest payrolls in our college, it’s easy to understand why Amy might decline requests for her help or advice.
On the contrary, however, Amy displays an exceptional work ethic and positive, helpful attitude. She not only quickly and efficiently addresses whatever payroll challenges come her way, but she also eagerly takes advantage of opportunities to train and mentor others in her department and throughout the college. She has become a trusted colleague and an invaluable resource to all who work with her.
In addition to the exceptional work she performs on behalf of her department, Amy also has been invited to participate in college and university service initiatives, which have included a two-year term on the University Staff Congress and her current work on the college’s Staff Development and Activities Committee.
Regardless of the endeavor, Amy strives to ensure that her contributions are of the highest quality. She absolutely exemplifies what it means to be an outstanding member of our staff.
Benjamin Smith Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching
Dimitris joined our faculty just 2 1/2 years ago and, in addition to his research leadership in machine learning and data sciences, he already has made significant contributions as an educator.
His first teaching experience at UW-Madison introduced him to active learning and flipped classroom instruction under the mentorship of a senior faculty member. Dimitris embraced the approach so passionately that he not only has been an advocate for pedagogical best practices among his faculty peers, but also has sought opportunities to improve his teaching. Currently, in fact, he is among a cohort of ten participants from across UW-Madison in the year-long Madison Teaching and Learning Excellence program.
In evaluations, undergraduate students in his large-enrollment courses rate him among the best instructors in the ECE department, frequently noting his strong commitment to their success. At the graduate level, Dimitris developed a new course that meets an important need in the data sciences area. Initially offered as a special topics course, it has been in high demand and now fills an important role in the department’s accelerated master’s degree program in signal processing and machine learning. He currently is transforming another undergraduate course to incorporate active learning and explore probability and random signals concepts from a data science perspective.
It is clear that in a very short time, Dimitris has become an educational leader, inspiring others through his example.
James G. Woodburn Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
In civil and environmental engineering, the capstone design course has long enjoyed the envy of similar departments around the country. And that’s in large part to Charlie’s innovations and ongoing commitment to improving the course over the past decade.
Charlie’s enhancements center around the student experience and project-based learning that prepares students for their future work. For example, his students collaborate with students from organizations that include UW-Milwaukee, Madison College and other UW-Madison departments. They present final designs for off-campus and community clients in addition to an on-campus design showcase. Throughout the course, they use many technologies that facilitate collaboration among partners both on and off campus.
Also a practicing architect, Charlie has leveraged contacts in the industry to form the Capstone Partnership—a group of sponsors who provide real-world design projects, team mentors, and additional funding that supports innovative teaching methods. The mentorship network Charlie has cultivated is so robust that each student design team has two to three mentors each.
He also regularly attends and has been a presenter at the Capstone Design Conference, and recently two design projects earned engineering education awards from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. Through all of his efforts, he has helped to elevate national respect for the civil and environmental engineering department and its capstone design program.
Harvey Spangler Award for Innovative Teaching and Learning Practices
Our college strives to deliver world-leading experiences that help prepare engineers to solve tomorrow’s challenges. Dane Morgan is among the faculty whose unique approach to engaging students in data science research and education sets our college apart and has earned significant national recognition.
Over the past three years, Dane has founded, developed and led an undergraduate research program in machine learning called the Informatics Skunkworks. It enables students to participate in project-based research through which, as members of diverse teams, they learn and apply advanced informatics principles to solve science and engineering problems.
While the Skunkworks functions informally as a co-curricular activity, students can earn formal academic credit for their participation. Already, the Skunkworks has yielded significant research, tens of presentations, and multiple peer-reviewed publications, in addition to recognition and additional opportunities for the students themselves.
Dane has helped to found partner efforts at four other institutions and, to help them grow, has developed online resources that include training materials, open-source informatics codes, and community datasets.
The Skunkworks is noted among 32 major accomplishments that emerged from the first five years of the United States Materials Genome Initiative, and Dane will present about the Skunkworks on an international stage at the fall 2019 Materials Research Society Meeting.
Ragnar E. Onstad Service to Society Award
Through her research, Laura addresses important problems in emergency response and homeland security, while in her outreach activities, she is an ambassador for the field of operations research and an inspiration to young students—and in particular, young women—who are considering careers in engineering.
Laura’s early research in aviation security passenger screening has helped to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of aviation security systems. For example, her research helped to inform and influence implementation of the TSA Pre-Check system—a streamlined airline screening program that has gained the confidence of U.S. politicians and the traveling public.
More recently, she has focused on ways to effectively design and operate emergency medical services. She is recognized as a leading researcher in this area; she has garnered an international reputation for her work, which is benefiting citizens in the United States and elsewhere. Her models, for example, now are part of widely used computer-aided dispatch software used to guide fire engines in real time.
In addition to her research, Laura maintains an active and popular blog on operations research and is regularly tapped as a media expert or public speaker on topics that include homeland security, the applications of industrial engineering, or how the N-C-double-A decides how basketball teams fit into its tournament bracket each year.
Laura’s activities not only help illustrate to diverse audiences how operations research can help solve important societal challenges, they also reflect well on our college, university and the engineering profession as a whole.
Equity and Diversity Award
John’s work to create and support a culture of diversity ladders up in scope from an individual level to efforts that resonate well beyond the walls of our university.
He has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students who traditionally are underrepresented in engineering, not only during their research and educational activities at UW-Madison, but also throughout their careers. Under John, fifteen women—including four of color—have earned doctoral degrees, and a number of those alumni now are engineering faculty members at universities around the country.
He weaves the concepts of diversity, inclusion and teamwork throughout his engineering courses. Similarly, he has infused these issues in his recently published textbook; students learn research-based strategies for creating a culture of inclusiveness in teams, as well as specific strategies for realizing the potential of team diversity. They put these techniques into practice in John’s courses.
John also has been a catalyst for a culture change in the industrial and systems engineering faculty hiring process. Now, the department requires all applicants to write a diversity statement in addition to the traditional requirements. This requirement signals to all potential applicants that the department cares about diversity and inclusivity, and it helps hiring committee members select candidates who view diversity and inclusivity as a priority.