April 26, 2016  

2016 Morrill Award winners announced

Purdue's Morrill Awards were announced Monday (April 25) at the Faculty Awards Convocation for three professors whose careers have demonstrated excellence in their teaching, research and engagement missions.

This is the fifth year of the Morrill Award, initiated to honor the Morrill Act of 1862, which allowed for the establishment of land-grant colleges and universities. The award comes with a $30,000 prize, which may be used as discretionary funds or salary supplements. 

The 2016 Morrill Award winners:

Monika Ivantysynova, the Maha Fluid Power Systems Professor, School of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Ivantysynov's research in the field of modeling and simulation of pumps and motors has led to several new discoveries about the fundamental behavior of fluid film and its importance for the design and successful operation of positive displacement machines. Her findings permit advances in the design of current hydraulic actuation systems used in agriculture, construction, aerospace, marine, and industrial machines, resulting in reduction of fuel consumption, improved reliability, reduction of noise emissions, and even a reduction in system cost due to reduced mechanical complexity.

Several industry sponsors have commercialized her inventions, including a novel concept for hydrostatic transmission that includes energy recovery features now used in the garbage trucks commercialized by Parker Hannifin. In 1999, she was one of the founders of Fluid Power Net International, the first international scientific network in this field.

Ivantysynova established Purdue's Maha Fluid Power Research Center, which focuses on ways to save energy through hydraulic systems. Under her leadership, the center has organized and hosted the Research Experiences for Undergraduates Bootcamp of the NSF Center for Compact Efficient Fluid Power, providing an introduction to fluid power for undergraduate students from various U.S. universities.

Douglas Powell, Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Powell's research career has focused on improving the literacy and language skills of preschool children by developing interventions to enhance the skills of parents and teachers in promoting successful child development. This research is tied directly into his teaching, in which he emphasizes parenting, intervention science, and literacy. Powell is currently leading a five-year translational research project aimed at developing and testing an evidence-based school readiness curriculum for the U.S. Department of Defense Child Development Program, which reaches about 95,000 military children and their families worldwide.

Support for Powell's research and engagement work includes grants from the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Education, the Ford Foundation, W.K.  Kellogg Foundation and the Lilly Endowment. Recognition of his research expertise includes service as consulting editor for Child Development and editorial board appointments with four scholarly journals. Powell also served as editor-in-chief of the Early Childhood Research Quarterly, the leading scholarly journal focused on early childhood programs, and is a frequent panel member for Institute of Education Sciences (U.S. Department of Education) grant reviews.

Powell has a long and continuing history of effectively translating scientific knowledge into interventions that uplift the lives of children and their families, including leading a Cooperative Extension team to develop the fathering program known as It's My Child Too. The program was widely acclaimed and received a number of awards, including the USDA Secretary's Honor Award.

Phillip Wankat, the Clifton L. Lovell Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Engineering Education 

In 46 years on the Purdue faculty, Wankat has interwoven teaching, research and service at a rare level, garnering a high number of awards and citations in his two disciplines. Having achieved national recognition in chemical engineering, he then became a pioneer in the emerging discipline of engineering education. He even persuaded Purdue to allow him to earn an MSEd (1982) to complement his engineering degrees (BS Purdue, 1966).

In his technical research, his focus on mass transfer and separation led to more than 190 papers in Chemical Engineering plus two patents. He was editor-in-chief of a prestigious journal for 10 years. He has engaged with industry and produced works that reshaped aspects of distillation. These efforts have brought numerous service awards.

With equal vigor, he has worked to improve the teaching of engineering, and he was selected in 1999 for the inaugural cohort of Purdue's Book of Great Teachers. He has spread the message of engineering education through groundbreaking research articles, dozens of workshops, editorial work and course design. As associate dean, he played a pivotal role in the creation of Purdue's Department (now School) of Engineering Education.


Other nominees for the 2016 Morrill Award were Ernie Agee, professor of earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences; Gary Bennett, professor of entomology; Shirley Dyke, professor of mechanical engineering; and Nathan Hartman, professor of computer graphics technology. 

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