Matthew Mench in the UT Student Union

Dean’s Message

The Tickle College of Engineering is thriving.

While it is true that higher education in general is facing unprecedented challenges, I’m proud to say that our college is growing in every way, even as we continue to hold ourselves to the highest standards.

Our world-class faculty continues to earn recognition for contributions made in the classroom and in the laboratory. Chancellor’s Professor Kevin Tomsovic, of our Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, recently received one of the top honors that an engineer can earn through his election to the National Academy of Engineering. This achievement alone enhances our standing in the US News and World Report Ranking of graduate engineering programs. Dr. Tomsovic’s work in the field of power-related engineering has had an impact far beyond Knoxville, with several key advanced directly from his work have been used to advance the modern grid, its functionality, and its overall reliability.

Our college’s Engineering Diversity Programs was established 50 years ago in 1973 to foster growth and inclusion of African- American, Hispanic, Native American, Alaskan Native, Pacific Islanders, and female populations, which are historically underrepresented in engineering. An alumnus of our college and a former member of that program had the program named in his honor for his success and his support of both the program and the college. The newly named Dwight Hutchins Engineering Diversity Programs will help us celebrate his legacy, and the legacy of all the amazing alumni from this program into perpetuity.

The true impact that one faculty member has is often best told by their current or former students. From his arrival as a student here more than 40 years ago to his passing this winter, Rupy Sawhney’s legacy is reflected by the outpouring of memories that alumni and coworkers shared on what he meant to them. Dr. Sawhney believed that the health and well-being of the worker should be behind every business decision, and that better engineering could lessen dependence on opioids. He will be greatly missed.

Throughout the college, our surge forward continues, as we have once again seen records broken in research expenditures, enrollment levels, growth of our female and historically underrepresented populations, and patents filed. Our college USNWR graduate ranking shot up to 31 among public institutions, and most of our academic programs also saw improvements in ranking.

The university as a whole is beginning an initiative designed to bring together expertise from colleges around campus to work on a series of seven research clusters ranging from agriculture to artificial intelligence, six of which are either being led by or feature faculty from our college. Those are all just the latest signs of a College on the Rise. All told, we expect around thirty new faculty slots to come to the college in the next 3 years in both Knoxville and at UT Space Institute.

As we wrap up another successful semester, I am proud of our past, pleased with where we’ve come, and eager to set the bar even higher still. We’re thriving, but we’ve only just begun. Thank you for your support of the university and college, and Go Vols!

Best Regards and Go Vols,

Matthew Mench
Dean and Wayne T. Davis Chair
Tickle College of Engineering

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