Message from the Dean

Leo E. Hanifin

Impact, Summer 2002 issue

Leo E. Hanifin, M.E., D.E. has focused his teaching and research in the area of manufacturing efficiencies, processes and modeling. Hanifin has also held engineering and management positions in the automotive, aerospace, and computer industries. He has received the LEAD and Outstanding Young Engineer awards from SME, and the Outstanding Engineering Alumnus of the Year award from UDM. He holds B.M.E., M.E., and D.E. degrees from the University of Detroit. He joined the UDM College of Engineering & Science as dean in 1991.

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Status and Future of the College of Engineering and Science

Recently there have been some very important developments in the College of Engineering & Science. Many of these developments have been a result of UDM's Prioritization Process and The Legacy Campaign. I want to be sure that the College community is aware of these developments and their impact on the College today and in the future.

To present a well-rounded perspective on what is happening in the College today, my letter to you addresses the following topics:
Faculty, Academic Program Quality, Students, Marketing and Enrollment, Pre-College Programs, Organizational / Location Changes, Improvements in Equipment and Facilities, Fund Raising.
Be sure to peruse the rest of the articles on this web site for a closer look at some of the happenings in the College.


The faculty of the College is a community of teaching scholars--faculty who focus first on excellence in teaching and creating an active learning environment for students. During the past eight years, our faculty have received more than 30 awards from the National Science Foundation for curriculum and laboratory improvements. This makes our College one of the nation's top technological colleges in the area of educational innovation and excellence. Our faculty continue to implement improvements and to seek support for more educational projects.

Academic Program Quality

U.S. News and World Report recently named UDM the top university in its category in Michigan. . . and UDM is the only top-tier Michigan university in its category that offers engineering programs.

To assure continued excellence of its programs, the College has recently reviewed and revised outcome assessment plans for all ongoing academic programs. The execution of these assessment plans will result in the identification of opportunities for further enhancement in content and pedagogy and/or the creation of needed educational resources, such as laboratory or computing equipment.


The quality of E&S students places them among the top incoming students at the University. While at UDM, E&S students are among the most active, leading in a large array of service, social, honorary and professional activities. E&S students contribute greatly to the vibrancy of student life at UDM. The great success of our E&S graduates can be directly attributed to the quality and engagement of students and to the quality of our academic programs and faculty.

Marketing and Enrollment

During the past year, the University has undertaken a broad marketing campaign. This campaign has already had a dramatic impact on applications and admissions: Freshman admissions are up significantly in both engineering and science compared to last year--and the quality of our applicants has also increased.

During the coming year, the University will continue its marketing campaign, focusing particular attention on specific programs. This marketing effort will include several programs from the College of Engineering & Science, specifically engineering, biology/biochemistry and computing programs (computer science/computer engineering).

Pre-College Programs

The college provides an extraordinary level of service to the community and to specific high schools throughout the year. These programs provide opportunities for K-12 students to become aware of career opportunities in technical areas, and to prepare themselves for college-level studies. These programs together impact more than 7,000 students each year:

Technology Discovery Day: 900 students

Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP): more than 2,000 students

FIRST Lego League Detroit and Michigan Tournaments: more than 1,000 students

Ford/UDM Engineering Opportunities Program: more than 2,000 students

Summer Programs (3): more than 200 students

Detroit Science Center exhibits and programs: more than 1,000 students

FIRST Robotic Competition: more than 20 students

The College recently received a grant from the Society for Manufacturing Engineers (SME) for the STEPS program: a pre-college engineering summer camp for high school girls (see related story). These programs are all made possible through the efforts of E&S students and faculty.

Organizational / Location Changes

During the coming year:

The physics faculty will move to the Chemistry Building and join with the chemistry/biochemistry faculty to create a new department. This will provide improved laboratory and office facilities for our physics curriculum and aid in the sharing of innovative methods for teaching of science.

The math and computer science faculty will move from the Briggs Building to the Engineering Building. This will provide them with easier access to advanced computing resources (UNIX workstations, upgraded PCs, wireless environment, etc.) and facilitate collaboration with engineering faculty.

A planning group of computer science and electrical/computer engineering faculty are developing a proposal for expanded collaboration and integration of the computing programs in ways that will make UDM a recognized leader in computing education. Also, a search is under way to hire an additional faculty member in computer science.

The Manufacturing Engineering Program has developed a partnership with local community colleges for a joint degree program in manufacturing engineering (see related story).

The Chemical Engineering program will be phased out over the next three and one-half years. The College is committed to serving current Chemical Engineering students to the completion of their degrees.

During the past decade, the College has undergone many changes. New programs, such as the Bachelor of Manufacturing Engineering and the Master of Product Development, have been introduced. Other programs, such as the Bachelor of Plastics and Polymer Engineering and now the Bachelor of Chemical Engineering, have been phased out. The latter decision was made after full reviews of all of UDM's programs, using the Prioritization Process and criteria established by faculty and administrators from across the University.

Improvements in Equipment and Facilities

Last Year

During the past year, the College completed the following major improvements to equipment and facilities:

Replacement of roof of Chemistry Lecture Hall

Purchase and installation of NMR Spectrometer

Replacement of plaza in front of Ford Life Sciences Building

Landscaping East and West Entrances of Engineering Building

40 New PCs in Engineering PC Lab

5 new Sun Workstations

Wireless network throughout Engineering Building

Total value: more than $500,000

This Year

During summer 2002, the following facility improvements will take place in the College:

Creation of the Ford Computing Center: two large laboratories that will focus on distributed computing and communication supporting the computer science and computer engineering programs

Office renovations to accommodate the math and computer science faculty in the Engineering Building

Transformation of the Environmental/Polymer Institute Laboratory into the organic chemistry lab

Transformation of two chemistry laboratories into physics labs

Repairs to the greenhouse in the Ford Life Sciences Building

Renovation of five classrooms in Engineering to support team oriented learning and the use of advanced instructional technology.

Conversion of former Polymer Institute offices into a large classroom

Addition of air conditioning to the new GIS Laboratory in Civil and Environmental Engineering

All of these projects will result in significant improvements to facilities. Additional expenditures will be made to equip the Ford Computing Center with advanced computing and communication hardware and software and to further improve the Unit Operations Laboratory equipment of Chemical Engineering.

Total cost: Approximately $1 million (supported by gifts from Ford, Denso, Lear and many alumni).

Fund Raising

In addition to the funding for this year's projects, the College has recently secured major grants from Visteon and Lear. The Visteon commitment will support the development of a student prototyping laboratory where students can transform their product ideas into reality. The Lear commitment will be used to continue the overall improvements of the Engineering Building over the next four years. The Society for Manufacturing Engineers (SME) has also provided a grant to support the further development of our program in manufacturing engineering and a partnership with two community colleges and 80 high schools (see related story).

These commitments reflect the high level of respect that our alumni and corporate partners have for the quality of our students, faculty and programs, and their confidence in the future of our College. We are hopeful that additional major grants will be secured in the coming months for further renovations in the College's buildings.

The refocusing, investments and initiatives described above reflect the very strong position and reputation of the College of Engineering & Science. These developments and future initiatives will improve the College even further. As a part of the E&S community, I hope you share my pride and enthusiasm for the College and its future.

Leo E. Hanifin, M.E., D.E.
College of Engineering & Science
University of Detroit Mercy