Enrollment growth led to the expansion of numerous course and laboratory offerings within the college. Our largest and fastest-growing department, Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science, expanded its summer offerings to include almost all required courses in an effort to accommodate exploding enrollments and improve graduation rates. For Mechanical Engineering students, summer became just another semester.
Beginning its third year in the fall of 2016, Charlotte Engineering Early College (CEEC) is educating high school students in the STEM disciplines, with particular emphasis on energy engineering. CEEC junior-level students are now taking introductory general education university courses. When the first cohort reaches the senior year in 2017, students will begin taking Introduction to Engineering 1201. The CEEC program is extremely popular and has a long waiting list for admissions. Our Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) is working closely with CEEC to develop energy-related activities, which helps fulfill EPIC’s mission of providing energy engineering education for high school, college and continuing education levels.
Multiple Lee College of Engineering academic departments developed and began offering new concentrations in the past two years. To meet the demand for more engineers in the growing profession of biotechnology, Mechanical Engineering started an undergraduate concentration in Biomedical Engineering. The Charlotte region is increasing its expertise in the diverse field of biotechnology, with new jobs being created in the advanced research and development of devices, tissue engineering, cryogenics, robotics and more. The new concentration requires the course Introduction to Biomedical Engineering, four technical electives and a bioengineering-related senior design project.
To provide its undergraduates with the opportunity to focus their education on an area of specific interest, the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department adopted six concentrations in 2016. The new concentration areas are Energy Infrastructure, Environmental/Water Resources Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Land Development Engineering, Structures, and Transportation.
In the Engineering Technology and Construction Management Department, four energy concentrations were started. The Applied Energy Concentration was implemented for the Electrical and Mechanical engineering technology programs. The Applied Energy and Sustainable Systems Concentration was implemented in the Civil ET and Construction Management programs.
The Systems Engineering and Engineering Management Department began the Engineering Management Concentration and Energy Systems Concentration within the BS in Systems Engineering program. It also started the Energy Systems Concentration within the MS in Engineering Management program.
To support the concentrations, a number of new forward-looking courses were created. In Electrical and Computer Engineering, new courses were developed in power systems and the smart grid, high-voltage DC transmission and technology, mobile devices and big data, and real-time OS. ECE also started a digital audio course and a supporting media laboratory that focus on digital audio generation and image processing.
Mechanical Engineering started new technical elective courses in advanced controls, tire mechanics, micro-electronic mechanical devices, turbomachinery and clean coal.
Curriculum for the MS in Construction and Facilities Management program was revised to create courses and provide for existing courses to be cross-listed with courses in the Civil ET and Construction Management programs. The updates increase student options for elective courses in the areas of building information modeling, green building, and temporary structures in construction.
Electrical ET started a sophomore and junior practicum sequence to provide a continuum of exposure to practical design and implementation, project management, oral and written communications and teamwork.
The Center for Precision Metrology began developing a graduate certificate program in Precision Metrology. The continuing education program is designed to make graduate offerings available to non-masters and non-Ph.D. students. It is aimed at working professionals and will be delivered as a distance education program.
Civil Engineering started a new continuous improvement initiative to enhance student learning and assessment. The initiative’s mission is to see what students are really learning, measure it and then develop improvements.
As part of a Department of Labor grant, Engineering Technology is working with a consortium of community colleges to develop a stacked and latticed curriculum for an associates Mission Critical Operations (MCO) delivered at the community colleges. In addition, ET is establishing pathways for MCO graduates with an associate’s degree to transfer those credits towards earning a four-year degree at UNC Charlotte.
Our Senior Design Program had its largest cohort ever in fall 2016, with 295 seniors working on 58 separate projects, 40 of which were supported by industry partners. Completed senior projects won a number of awards, including first place at the Appalachian Energy Summit for the Self-Charging Vehicle project. The project, supported by UNC Charlotte Facilities Management and the Charlotte Green Initiative, was to develop a prototype solar system to charge an e-Car while it is in operation.
A number of energy-related senior design projects continued to be sponsored by EPIC-affiliated companies such as AREVA, Siemens, EPRI, Westinghouse and Duke Energy.
The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and EPIC initiated an international collaborative agreement with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany that resulted in exchange activities involving energy research students. UNC Charlotte students visited KIT for three months to work on projects supervised by its faculty. About a dozen KIT students came to UNC Charlotte from April until September to study and perform energy research.
The college established an exchange program for undergraduate and graduate students at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. Both semester-long and year-long programs taught in English are available. The program includes a $500-a-month stipend for student living expenses provided by Tohoku.
Systems Engineering piloted an international program with the Universidad de los Andes in Chile in which both schools exchanged and hosted students and faculty.
The Lee College of Engineering started an engineering honors program in fall 2016. The programs is tied into senior design with the purpose of complimenting students’ capstone design experiences. Criteria for the honors program includes a 3.5 GPA and students must be currently taking senior design.