Engineering Leaders, Student Scholars, & Problem Finding

This week, the University of Texas System Board of Regents named Richard C. Benson, Ph.D. (NY K ’73), as the sole finalist for the presidency of the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Benson is currently the dean of Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering. Previously, he was head of the department of mechanical engineering at Pennsylvania State University.

According to the news release, “Under state law, university governing boards must name finalists for a presidency at least 21 days before making an appointment. During that time, UT System leaders will be coordinating meetings, giving stakeholders the opportunity to hear from Dr. Benson.”


The Alabama Concrete Industries Foundation (ACIF) has awarded two students with the 2016 ACIF Scholarship. The scholarships have been awarded since 1993 to students enrolled in building science, engineering or architecture at Alabama state universities. Both of this year’s recipients are Tau Bates. (Read the announcement for more information.)

Logan C. Holley (AL B 2016) – civil engineering major at the University of Alabama and 2015 Edgar Boyd Kay Award as the outstanding civil engineering junior

Rebecca K. Nylen (AL A 2016) – civil engineering major at Auburn University and student civil engineer of the year, Alabama ASCE (2015)


An article from The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a growing trend at “universities nationwide to teach undergraduates to think more broadly and aggressively about how they can help solve real-world problems.” Many of the classes and programs cited in the article are related to engineering students and engineering disciplines. A company that produces low-cost scales designed for wheelchair users originated at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in 2012 during a student’s participation in a mandatory sophomore course called “User Oriented Collaborative Design.”

Olin’s president, Richard K. Miller, Ph.D. (CA L ’71), spoke about the course, “Rather than being told what to design, or even just to design something, the students are asked to start by identifying a group of people whose lives they want to change. It’s the difference between design-based projects and the more common project-based learning.” Click here to read the article.


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