Trustees ratify distinguished professorship, approve degree conversion, vote to restructure engineering departments at IPFW

February 12, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Thursday (Feb. 12) ratified a distinguished professorship and approved converting the bachelor of arts degree to a bachelor of fine arts degree in the Department of Art and Design.

Trustees also voted to restructure the Department of Engineering at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne by establishing two departments - the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Board members also approved a facility name change on the IPFW campus.

The board also approved resolutions of appreciation for Irwin "Bud" Weiser, who has served as the Justin S. Morrill Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and five donors who have given $1 million or more to Purdue. Trustees also approved a posthumous degree.

The professorship was approved by the full board Thursday (Feb. 12). The board's Academic Affairs Committee previously approved the professorship and the other items Wednesday (Feb. 11).

Ahmed Hassanein

Ahmed Hassanein 
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Trustees approved Ahmed Hassanein as the Paul L. Wattelet Distinguished Professor of Nuclear Engineering. Hassanein has been the Paul L. Wattelet Professor of Nuclear Engineering and head of the School of Nuclear Engineering since 2009. He also is director of the Center for Materials Under eXtreme Environment (CMUXE).

Before coming to Purdue in 2007, he was a senior scientist, group leader and director of the Fusion Power Program at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory. He has more than 30 years of experience in research and development in the fields of nuclear engineering, plasma physics and materials science.

His research interests include the fields of modeling material responses to different radiation sources. He has developed models and comprehensive computer packages to predict material behavior, lifetime issues, plasma evolution and fluid hydrodynamics under various irradiation conditions.

Hassanein is a fellow of six professional societies including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the international society for optics and photonics (SPIE), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the American Nuclear Society (ANS), the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the American Physical Society (APS). He received the IEEE Merit Award in 2013.

He received his bachelor's degree from Alexandria University in Egypt in 1974. He earned master's degrees in nuclear engineering and physics, as well as his doctorate, from the University of Wisconsin.

Paul Wattelet and his wife, Madeline, of Oak Brook, Illinois, provide funds for the Paul Wattelet Chair in Nuclear Engineering. Paul Wattelet received a doctorate from Purdue in nuclear engineering in 1967. He joined Sargent & Lundy in 1972, where he eventually became chair, president and CEO before retiring in 2004.

The board also voted to establish a bachelor of fine arts degree for the Integrated Studio Arts, Interior Design, Industrial Design and Visual Communications Design programs in the Department of Art and Design. The department is housed of the College of Liberal Arts.

Increased demand by professions that undergraduate majors in the Department of Art and Design will enter after graduation make it important to establish the bachelor of fine arts degree, said David L. Sigman, professor of visual and performing arts and department chair.

"Over the next 10 years both the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development project growth for jobs in these programs," he said. "Students who earn a BFA degree will be more competitive for these positions.

"Also, undergraduates from Purdue's BA degree programs accepted into top graduate programs such as the Chicago Art Institute are required to complete an additional year of study at the institute as a condition for entering their MFA program. This adds unnecessary and substantial cost increases to their graduate program. This additional year is not being required for students with a BFA, who also have a much greater potential for acceptance into top MFA programs."

The BFA degree, which is subject to Indiana Commission for Higher Education approval, would be offered beginning in the 2015-16 academic year.

In other business, trustees voted to restructure IPFW's current Department of Engineering into the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

"The change will increase the quality of program management, improve student learning outcomes and help us more closely align our programs with our region's needs," said Vicky Carwein, IPFW chancellor. "It also will focus the departments' work on recruitment and retention to support student success, which is the university's highest priority."

She said the change, which will take effect July 1, is in response to recommendations of the national Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, following a site visit in 2012.

Trustees approved a resolution of appreciation for Weiser, who has served as the dean of the College of Liberal Arts since July 2010 and as head of the Department of English from 2002 to 2009. A member of the Purdue faculty since 1981, he will step aside as dean on March 1 but will remain as a faculty member in the Department of English.

Resolutions of appreciation were approved for donors Elaine J. Heron (College of Science), Thomas and Mary Howatt (Krannert School of Management), Lew and Linda Myers (College of Engineering), W.M. Keck Foundation (College of Engineering) and an anonymous donor (Krannert School of Management). All of the donors contributed $1 million or more.

The board also voted to approve removing the name "Cole Commons" from the current commons building in the Waterfield Student Housing complex at IPFW and to name the clubhouse, also located in the complex, "Cole Clubhouse." The commons facility at the complex, which opened in 2004, was the result of a Cole Foundation gift. A larger clubhouse was built and opened in 2010 and has become the center of student activities in the complex, Carwein said.

Trustees approved a posthumous bachelor of science degree for Lynda M. Glover, a senior in the College of Health and Human Sciences. 

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, 

Sources: Debasish Dutta, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs,

Ahmed Hassanein, 765-494-5742,

David L. Sigman, 765-496-3271,

Vicky Carwein, 260-481-6103, 

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