News | Powering the New Engineer News from Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida Wed, 15 Jan 2020 21:03:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 UF online programs see new gains in 2020 U.S. News & World Report rankings Tue, 14 Jan 2020 16:05:30 +0000

#15 in online engineering graduate educationJanuary 14, 2019

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida online degree programs saw new gains in the 2020 U.S. News & World report rankings released today.

UF was recognized for maintaining its leadership role among the best online graduate programs, as the university’s online graduate engineering program climbed one spot and is tied for No. 15.

“I am pleased to see UF continue its excellent performance in the U.S. News online rankings list. It reflects the outstanding work being done by our faculty and staff and demonstrates that our students and the state of Florida overall are receiving a tremendous return on investment. UF Online in particular has been on a meteoric trajectory since it was created just six years ago,” UF Provost Joe Glover said.

UF Online Graduate Engineering Program Overview –

The UF EDGE program uses combined classrooms, with distance students participating in the same courses as campus students and having access to the same content. High-quality lecture videos are available online the same day of the live instruction on campus. UF EDGE faculty are the same research-active instructors for campus-based graduate students. UF EDGE brings a high-quality and affordable Masters degree education to students worldwide with full online delivery and no campus visits required.

UF Online Ranked No. 4 Among Nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs Tue, 14 Jan 2020 15:44:31 +0000

UF Online Ranked No. 4The University of Florida sets a new standard as a modern research university with national recognition for both traditional classroom programs and online pathways. UF Online, UF’s online undergraduate experience, has now risen to No. 4 in the country for best online bachelor’s programs according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 rankings.

With foresight and investment from the State of Florida, UF has been able to launch a fully online set of bachelor’s programs delivered by UF’s award-winning faculty. The program serves just over 4,000 undergraduates and offers 25 UF degree programs. Now at No. 4, it’s time to stand up and holler because the Gator Nation is showing the country what’s possible when it focuses on expansive access through academic excellence via more versatile learning formats and programs.

USNWR Veteran's BadgeAlso announced today, U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 rankings recognize UF Online as the No. 2 online bachelor’s program in the country for our veterans. This separate list of rankings by U.S. News recognizes universities that provide excellent online education paired with robust support for student veterans and active duty service members. Through UF Online, students have access to UF’s renowned faculty and degree programs but also the UF Collegiate Veterans Success Center, Office of Student Veteran Success, and Collegiate Veterans Society—wherever their orders take them. View our full profile on the list for veterans here.

With the rise to #4 in the nation for online bachelor’s, UF Online moves up and above the longstanding online programs at Arizona State University and Penn State World Campus. The rise to No. 4 can be attributed to UF Online’s success in categories such as: average class size (29), affordable tuition, faculty credentials, selective admissions, technologies and services available to students (ranked No. 1 nationally), the low debt of graduates, and the strong academic outcomes of UF Online students, including high student retention and degree completion.

“All UF Online programs are taught by our campus faculty, with affordable tuition and fees, and our online Gators earn the very same degrees as their residential peers. This model is unique in the country and I’m so proud to see it recognized by U.S. News in 2020 as a top approach to online learning,” said Evangeline Tsibris Cummings, Assistant Provost and Director of UF Online.

UF Online is made possible by 10 colleges and hundreds of faculty, academic advisors, and staff, all working to deliver hundreds of online courses to thousands of online students each semester. Launched just six years ago, UF Online has celebrated the graduation of over 2,000 Gators. The online undergraduate degree in computer science is the largest UF Online program.

Review the rankings for the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs on the U.S. News site. Read more details about UF Online in its U.S. News profile. Visit the UF Online web page for more information, including how to apply by the summer application deadline of February 3 and fall application deadline of May 4, 2020.

View the full story at UF Online.

A Look Back at Top Stories from 2019 Mon, 23 Dec 2019 21:28:05 +0000
Young faculty win top honors

UF engineering faculty received prestigious awards this year. Domenic Forte (ECE), Maitane Olabarrieta (ESSIE) and Aysegul Gunduz (BME) garnered Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) that include a trip to the White House. Three young investigators won awards for innovating security – Ryan Houim (MAE), Kyle Hartig (MSE), and Yier Jin (ECE). Six researchers received NSF Early Career Awards – Antarpreet Jutla (ESSIE), Kyla McMullen (CISE), Alexander Grenning (ChemE), Blanka Sharma (BME), Denise Simmons (ESSIE) and David Hibbitts (ChemE).


  • Olabarrieta Receives the PECASE Award

  • Gunduz receives Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

  • New UF Engineering Faculty Win Young Investigator Awards For Innovating U.S. Security

  • UF Engineer Uses 3D Audio Rendering and Perception to Aid Firefighters

  • UF Biomedical Engineer Pursues Understanding of Natural Killer Cells

  • Hibbitts Receives Prestigious NSF CAREER Award

In the spotlight this year

Engineering alumni gained acknowledgement and acclaim in 2019, including Linda Parker Hudson (ISE), who was elected to the National Academy of Engineers and NVIDIA founder Chris Malachowsky (ECE) who was inducted into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.

  • UF Alumna Linda Parker Hudson Elected to National Academy of Engineering

  • NVIDIA Founder Chris Malachowsky Inducted Into Florida Inventors Hall Of Fame

Engineering for better healthcare

From biomedical engineering to mechanical engineering, UF faculty completed ground-breaking research in the healthcare field this year.


  • UF Research Team Aims to Reduce Cost of Drug Development Using 3D-Printed Living Tissues

  • UF Engineer makes  Breakthrough in insulin regulation pathway

Safer, Smarter, Better – Innovations that transform the future

The use of AI is leading to innovations for safer roadways and intersections; coastal and environmental engineers are developing ways to create resilient coastal communities.

  • UF Engineer Leads Collaboration for Safer Roadways

  • iCoast- A Multidisciplinary Approach to Creating Resilient Coastal Communities

Engineering College Growth

The Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering added a new department in 2019 to study and enhance engineering education.

  • UF Adds Fully Dedicated Engineering Education Department to Engineering College

Students shine in design competitions

Teamwork among students and with experienced faculty brought many wins to UF this year, most notably the 2019 Engineering Deans’ Cup.

  • University of Florida wins 2019 Engineering Deans’ Cup

  • UF-SIT Team Takes First in Pwny Race at NYU’s CSAW Competition

  • Team GatorWings Takes First Place in DARPA SC2

To see more stories from 2019 about faculty, students and alumni, visit the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering web site news page “Powering the New Engineer”.

Hibbitts Receives Prestigious NSF CAREER Award Thu, 19 Dec 2019 13:31:59 +0000 Aim for Reform, Not Just Relief Wed, 11 Dec 2019 13:40:00 +0000

This article is written by David O. Prevatt, Jason von Meding and Ksenia Chmutina and was originally published in The Conversation.

The neighborhood known as The Mudd suffered disproportionate damage, a reflection of the Bahamas’ history. AP Photo/Fernando Llano

The neighborhood known as The Mudd suffered disproportionate damage, a reflection of the Bahamas’ history. AP Photo/Fernando Llano

Risk rooted in colonial era weighs on Bahamas’ efforts to rebuild after Hurricane Dorian

When Hurricane Dorian made landfall on Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas on Sept. 1, 2019, it packed winds of up to 185 miles per hour and a 20-foot storm surge. A day later, it ravaged Grand Bahama for 24 hours.

Across both islands, the storm brought “generational devastation.” Thousands of houses were leveled, telecommunications towers were torn down, and roads and wells were badly damaged. The cost to the Bahamas has been estimated to be up to US$7 billion – more than half of the country’s annual economic output.

But not all structures and communities in Dorian’s path were equally affected. The Structural Extreme Events Reconnaissance Network, or StEER – a research group we participate in – found that while structural failure was widespread, houses intentionally built to resist high wind and storm surge fared much better.

The problem is that not everyone has access to a house that can weather a storm like Dorian. The different ways in which Abaco and Grand Bahama – and their residents – were affected by the same event is yet another example of how disaster impacts are rooted in the historical development of society.

This happens around the world time and again. To really understand what happened in the Bahamas – and determine how it should rebuild – one needs to look back at how society has developed there.

Dominant (and safe) narratives

Certain narratives tend to dominate the media in the aftermath of disasters: death and destruction, heroes that come to the rescue and “villains” that allegedly capitalize on misery or are to blame for the calamity. In recent years, what could be called a climate breakdown narrative that links disasters to climate change has also become prominent.

But we can sometimes learn even more by examining the narratives that are not present.

The historical context of injustice, discrimination and inequality – experienced through social structures that cause harm to certain people – is often missing. This context informs today’s risk.

In the Bahamas, we see this kind of accumulated risk most clearly among the Haitian diaspora and Haitian Bahamians, who are stigmatized and face many barriers to full participation in society.

Engineers from the Structural Extreme Events through Reconnaissance research group inspected buildings damaged after the hurricane to capture how failures happened. Justin Marshall

Engineers from the Structural Extreme Events through Reconnaissance research group inspected buildings damaged after the hurricane to capture how failures happened. Justin Marshall

The most catastrophic damage from Dorian occurred in communities like “The Mudd” – a shantytown housing the nation’s largest Haitian immigrant community – where land is not owned by residents, and daily survival is paramount. People there trade the risk presented by massive hurricanes for the necessity of a place to live.

This trade-off can only be understood as part of the story of risk creation.

Natural hazards are not disasters

Disasters are not “natural events”; they are long-term processes of accumulated risk and impact.

Yes, nature shows its unyielding force through earthquakes and tsunamis. But in their differential impacts, disasters can actually be seen as social and political manifestations of injustice. In the Bahamas, inequality, poverty, political ideology, class and power relations lead to the buildup of unequal risks that make some people considerably more vulnerable than others.

For every inadequate building, there is a social context.

The same phenomenon plays out across the Caribbean – in Puerto Rico, Haiti, Dominica – and around the world as a protracted class divide.

Of course, people know that Caribbean housing is often ill-prepared for hurricanes. This is linked to inappropriate long-standing structural design choices and the limited enforcement of building codes. Both of these problems have supposedly been solved on paper, but the best technical solutions very often fail to grapple with social and political realities – and the root causes of disasters.

 Two houses side by side - only one survived the storm surge. Daniel Smith, Structural extreme Events Reconnaissance Network, Author provided

Two houses side by side – only one survived the storm surge. Daniel Smith, Structural extreme Events Reconnaissance Network, Author provided

What turned Hurricane Dorian into an epic disaster, particularly in places like The Mudd, was the lack of access to the resources necessary to achieve wellness everyday and safety during the storm.

Accumulated risk in the Bahamas

When Europeans arrived in 1492, they committed atrocities against the indigenous peoples that lived there. The Caribbean was rapidly turned into a site to sustain and protect colonial circulations of goods, money and slaves. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, an estimated 5 million Africans were enslaved and transported to the Caribbean. Half ended up in British territorial possessions, such as the Bahamas.

Colonization created the conditions for the chronic levels of risk that we see today among the descendants of enslaved people.

While slavery was abolished in these territories in the 1830s, most descendants of slaves remained indebted and were forced to undertake low-wage agricultural labor for mostly white absentee landowners. Inequalities, injustices and discrimination were thus institutionalized in the colonies, and remain largely in place within now-independent societies.

Alongside invasion, conquest and colonization, contemporary vulnerabilities in the Bahamas reflect laissez-faire historical attitudes toward addressing long-term risk. This is the foundation of contemporary structures of governance, society and the economy – and a big part of why today poor Bahamians, Haitians and Haitian Bahamians struggle for survival.

 Engraving depicting Christopher Columbus landing on Hispaniola. His expedition originally landed in the Bahamas and was met by the Lucayans, who were wiped out along with an estimated 12-15 million indigenous people across the Caribbean. Theodor de Bry/Library of Congress

Engraving depicting Christopher Columbus landing on Hispaniola. His expedition originally landed in the Bahamas and was met by the Lucayans, who were wiped out along with an estimated 12-15 million indigenous people across the Caribbean. Theodor de Bry/Library of Congress

How can we do better?

Moving into the recovery phase of Dorian is daunting. Affected communities need support to not just return to “normal” but address structural injustice. The probability of stronger storms under climate change – and impacts distributed primarily onto the most marginalized – continues to increase.

A historically and socially conscious approach to recovery and reconstruction could address not only shelter and infrastructure needs, but broader issues of equity and justice.

Understanding the origins of risk can inform better decisions about building back (or not). Ironically, the most vulnerable often continue to be left with no choice but to live in the most exposed areas.

Optimum building codes, planning policies and design strategies are critical. Much of the detailed hurricane-resistant structural knowledge is proven and available – small design changes make a substantial difference.

But without a plan for achieving equity and establishing basic rights and access for all, solutions will serve mostly the privileged. Colonial patterns of displacement, dependency and disadvantage are likely to be reinforced.

Dorian, like so many others recently, was a monster storm. But blaming disasters on nature – or human-induced climate change – allows those with power to maintain the status quo and to avoid their responsibility for the failures of development.

UF Engineering Hopes to Curb Harmful Chemicals in Landfills With EPA Grant Tue, 15 Oct 2019 13:59:50 +0000

Municipal solid waste (MSW) includes the household waste we carry to the curb each week in our trash cans and recycle bins. Most MSW is composed of food, paper, plastic, and a variety of other discarded products and packaging materials. In the United States, roughly half of our MSW is recycled or burned to produce energy. The rest of it is disposed of in landfills, often along with other waste streams such as medical waste, water treatment sludges, and construction and demolition debris.

Modern landfills in the U.S. are designed and operated to protect the environment. One major challenge is that rainwater interacts with MSW and produces leachate, a liquid residue that must be properly captured and treated. Landfill leachate can contain almost anything that people throw away – large amounts of salts from food scraps and paper products, organic chemicals from decomposing organic matter, nutrients such as ammonia, and, most worrisome to human health, trace amounts of harmful or toxic chemicals. When people throw away a battery containing lead or cadmium for example, a lamp made using mercury, or a pesticide or out-of-date pharmaceutical, small amounts of these components may potentially end up in the leachate. It is the role of the environmental engineer to develop, design and implement effective and cost-efficient treatment solutions for this complicated wastewater stream.

Leachate results from the interaction of rainwater and landfilled solid waste, and geomembrane-lined lagoons, such as the one shown here, are often used to store and treat leachate.

Leachate results from the interaction of rainwater and landfilled solid waste, and geomembrane-lined lagoons, such as the one shown here, are often used to store and treat leachate.

Today, for the most part, the engineering profession has developed treatment technologies that address the myriad different chemicals encountered in leachate. In recent years, however, potential health concerns form a newly appreciated suite of trace chemicals has emerged on the national stage: per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Thousands of PFAS chemicals have reportedly been developed and used in a multitude of industrial and commercial products, including firefighting foams, water-repelling agents in our clothes and shoes, and in food product packaging. Because PFAS chemicals are designed for purposes such as repelling water and stains, and to keep materials from sticking to one another, they tend to be mobile and persistent when they enter the environment, and thus are not easily removed with existing treatment technologies.

Timothy Townsend, Ph.D., the Jones Edmunds Professor of Environmental Engineering in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences at UF’s Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment, and his team from the Sustainable Materials Management Research Lab (SMMRL) at UF, are spearheading research to study PFAS at landfills and our waste stream as a whole. “Today the scientific community recognizes that PFAS chemicals, many of which are known or suspected to impact human health, can be found in our water, surrounding ecosystems, animal life, and in every one of us right now,” Dr. Townsend said.

As the principal investigator (PI), Dr. Townsend is heading up a group of interdisciplinary collaborators that has received part of a $6M total grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study PFAS chemicals and their role in landfills. “These grants will help improve EPA’s understanding of the characteristics and impacts of PFAS in waste streams and enhance our efforts to address PFAS,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

 ESSIE graduate students, such as the student shown here, build their research programs around solid waste and landfill-related questions posed by scientific, regulatory and industrial professionals.

Over the past decade, in an effort to address the research needs of Florida’s solid waste community, UF faculty and students have worked with landfill operators throughout Florida to collect and analyze landfill leachate.

The EPA desires to know more about the extent to which PFAS chemicals enter the nation’s landfills, the fraction of these chemicals exiting landfills with leachate, and the extent to which modern landfills provide effective control of the PFAS found in the garbage we throw away every day. Of critical importance to EPA is the development of effective treatment technologies. One element of the new research will include an examination of the degree of PFAS removal being accomplished by existing treatment systems.

The project is an interdisciplinary effort of investigators from within UF and outside. Dr. Helena Solo-Gabriele (Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering at the University of Miami), a Co-PI on the EPA project, has been working with the SMMRL team on PFAS in landfills, with support from the Hinkley Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management, a statewide research center funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and hosted at the University of Florida. Co-PI Dr. John Bowden, Assistant Professor at the Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology & Department of Physiological Sciences at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, brings to the project a wealth of experience on PFAS analysis, with his UF lab providing state-of-the-art analytical capabilities. Dr. Katherine Deliz Quiñones, a research faculty member in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences at UF, provides expertise in toxicology and biochemistry. Battelle, a global research and development organization, houses nationally certified PFAS analytical facilities and serves as one of the top PFAS labs in the U.S.

Dr. Townsend reflected on the desired impact of this research study. “It will provide scientists, policy makers, landfill operators, and the entire industry much more clarity regarding the many unknowns concerning PFAS and landfills. We need to better understand which components of our waste stream are providing the greatest PFAS inputs to landfills, if and how much of the PFAS chemicals are retained or transformed in the landfill, and what methods of PFAS treatment are most effective. The answers to these questions can help direct national strategies such as targeted waste screening and reduction to reduce PFAS impacts, better landfill operational strategy, and the most effective treatment techniques,” he said.

 ESSIE graduate students, such as the student shown here, build their research programs around solid waste and landfill-related questions posed by scientific, regulatory and industrial professionals.

ESSIE graduate students, such as the student shown here, build their research programs around solid waste and landfill-related questions posed by scientific, regulatory and industrial professionals.

This research will also provide significant experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in the environmental engineering discipline. “They will be interacting with landfill operators and others in the solid waste community, both through the collection of samples at multiple disposal facilities, and through the dissemination of research results. The students will play a critical role in the laboratory analysis and the performance of experiments to meet project objectives,” Dr. Townsend stated.

This project will span three years, with the researchers conducting studies at multiple landfill sites of all ages and waste characteristics, as well as laboratory simulations to test hypotheses resulting from field sampling and analysis. The ultimate goal is to allow the scientific community, policy makers and landfill operators to come up with new strategies for addressing the concerns of PFAS in our waste stream, with UF playing a leading role in this discussion.

NVIDIA Founder Chris Malachowsky Inducted Into Florida Inventors Hall Of Fame Wed, 25 Sep 2019 20:42:59 +0000
Chris Malachowsky, Florida Inventors Hall of FameUniversity of Florida alumnus who founded the computer graphics company NVIDIA is among the newest members of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.

Chris Malachowsky, an alumnus of UF’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, was selected for inventing the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) that transformed the visual computing industry by creating a consumer-oriented 3D graphics market. Under Malachowsky’s leadership, NVIDIA has evolved the GPU into a computer brain that intersects virtual reality, high performance computing and artificial intelligence. He holds 35 U.S. patents.

“Chris Malachowsky is an outstanding example of a world changing entrepreneur.  He is a creative, big thinker who took his UF education and used it to create not just a company but essentially a new industry. He remains firmly committed to the success of his alma mater and has been particularly pivotal in helping the college craft a vision around the coming 4th Industrial Revolution, which will help to position not only the university but the state of Florida as a leader in the creation of high tech innovation and jobs.” ​

Cammy R. Abernathy, Ph.D

Chris Malachowsky received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Florida in 1980.

Read more from the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.

Video courtesy of Hal Dunn.


View photos from the induction ceremony held September 20, 2019.

Hardware Security Research and Education Centers of Excellence open at University of Florida and Ohio State Fri, 13 Sep 2019 16:53:58 +0000

Dr. Mark Tehranipoor, Ph.D. (UF) and Dr. Waleed Khalil, Ph.D. (Ohio State), co-directors of the CYAN and MEST Centers of Excellence

Dr. Mark Tehranipoor, Ph.D. (UF) and Dr. Waleed Khalil, Ph.D. (Ohio State), co-directors of the CYAN and MEST Centers of Excellence

A joint launch event for both these Centers of Excellence, with a grant value of more than $9 million in the first year, was held at The Ohio State on Friday, September 13.

Gainesville, Florida/Columbus, Ohio – The Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida and The Ohio State University College of Engineering are collaborating as a close-knit team in two Centers of Excellence sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), and Nimbis Inc., a developer of collaborative cloud communities. Their dual goals are to advance the area of hardware-enabled cybersecurity through innovation and development of new Analog and Mixed Signal (AMS) domain security and to provide a comprehensive workforce training and education program in areas related to microelectronics design and security.

The combined UF-Ohio State team boasts strong expertise in all areas of hardware security for analog devices and systems, including design, simulation, fabrication, validation, testing, physical inspection, and analog emissions. The sponsors recognized the importance of these research and education efforts by awarding two joint-university Center of Excellence (COE) grants.

The Center for Enabling Cyber Defense in Analog and Mixed Signal Domain (CYAN) has received a $5 million grant from AFOSR as well as an additional $3.4 million from the joint universities. The center aims to attract additional funding through cooperation and partnership with national labs, defense industry and commercial partners. Hosted at Ohio State and UF, CYAN will be a joint COE conducting multidisciplinary research in the area of hardware-enabled cybersecurity through innovation and development of new AMS domain security. Dr. Waleed Khalil, Ph.D., associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Ohio State and Dr. Mark Tehranipoor, the Intel Charles E. Young Preeminence Endowed Chair Professor in Cybersecurity at UF, will serve as co-directors of the CYAN COE.

 “The objective of the CYAN COE is to bring together expertise from each of the team universities to advance the science of analog security, analog emissions, and analog and radio frequency (RF) forensics,” said Dr. Khalil. “Experts in these areas will address some of the fundamental challenges and questions related to securing the design, fabrication, and operation of AMS technologies while also developing information fusion and predictive analysis algorithms of analog emissions and analog forensics,” said Dr. Tehranipoor.

The Air Force is particularly interested in growing research in this space because much of the focus and progress made to date in hardware security has been in the digital domain, which does not extend well to AMS systems. This leaves a major portion of electronics systems insecure, since the AMS side of electronic hardware comprises the highest share of the semiconductor and communication markets.  Additionally, there is an increasing demand for a well-trained cybersecurity workforce in all government agencies, national labs, and industry sectors, making a comprehensive training effort in microelectronics security a critical necessity.

 To address this demand, the two universities have additionally teamed up to develop a holistic training program in microelectronics design and security. The program, dubbed MEST (The National MicroElectronics Security Training Center) supported by Nimbis, will receive almost $1 million in the first year, with annual performance-based additions of up to $2 million in each of the following four years.

MEST, also hosted jointly at UF and OSU, will focus on developing a holistic, well-rounded training program in microelectronics security. Drs. Tehranipoor and Khalil will serve as co-directors of the MEST Center as well.

Group photo of the participants in the launch of the CYAN-MEST Centers of Excellence

Group photo of the participants in the launch of the CYAN-MEST Centers of Excellence

 “We will devise an eco-system of training modules and options with an emphasis on experiential learning to suit the needs of diverse groups of industry/government practitioners and students,” said Tehranipoor. “On-site, on-campus and on-line courses will be offered. Students who complete the necessary curriculum or course requirements will receive college credit, while practitioners will be awarded certificates of accreditation,” said Dr. Khalil.

“The centers will serve as a main platform to attract and retain a large pool of domestic graduate and undergraduate students to the field of AMS domain security,” said Dr. Khalil. “Students and engineers in our programs will be trained across multiple disciplines covering hardware security, algorithms, data analytics, as well as AMS design and measurements, which will allow them to have a large toolbox from which to solve diverse problems.”

“Ultimately, the engagement with our research on AMS domain security, in addition to the training courses we develop, will drive skills among our students and engineering practitioners that can enable new levels of cybersecurity in both analog and digital systems, which is vital to our military and industrial sectors,” Dr. Tehranipoor commented.

A joint launch event for both these Centers of Excellence, with a grant value of more than $9 million in the first year, was held at Ohio State on Friday, September 13. Drs. Khalil and Tehranipoor will present an overview of the two centers to members of the Air Force Research Laboratories (AFRL) from Wright Patterson Air Force Base, dignitaries from the AFOSR, leadership from the engineering colleges and research offices of both universities, and members of the industry consortium.

UF Adds Fully Dedicated Engineering Education Department to Engineering College Tue, 10 Sep 2019 12:51:41 +0000
UF Announces Department of Engineering Education
The Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering has created a new Department of Engineering Education (EED) to improve and enhance the learning experience for engineering students.

Faculty in the department will teach general engineering courses, including a first-year design class, courses for a graduate certificate in Engineering Education, and conduct fundamental and applied research in the discipline of Engineering Education.

The faculty will use evidence-based knowledge from their research to inform their teaching. The improved teaching methods will result in more engaged students and better learning outcomes, thus producing stronger engineers and enhanced employability of UF graduates.

Hans van Oostrom, Ph.D., will lead the new department as the founding chair. Dr. van Oostrom earned his M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. He helped build the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) graduate program at UF and led the development of the BME undergraduate program. In 2016, Dr. van Oostrom created the Institute for Excellence in Engineering Education, which formed the basis of the Department of Engineering Education.  At the university level, Dr. van Oostrom is the co-chair of the University Curriculum Committee and a member of the Academic Policy Council.

“The field of Engineering is unique due to its wide breadth of subject areas that incorporate an extensive study of fundamentals as well as a vast body of experiential learning,” said Dr. van Oostrom. “The department specializes in engineering education research and the delivery of innovative and effective instructional methods in engineering undergraduate courses, as well as assessment. Our faculty design and teach large-enrollment undergraduate engineering courses that span multiple majors using methods that promote conceptual understanding and student retention. We perform research into the effectiveness of learning methods and continually strive to improve and adapt course content and delivery methods to serve students and faculty throughout the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering.”

Two new buildings on the UF campus will house the new teaching approaches. The iClassroom will function as a testbed for the use of new technologies in education. In addition, it will be a place where vendors and tech developers can test the real world educational applications of their inventions. Teaching will occur as students use the devices, improving upon some, identifying flaws in others. The iClassroom will move into the Data Science and IT (DSIT) building, once the planned $70 million, 260,000-square-foot structure is built.

In the new Herbert Wertheim Laboratory for Engineering Excellence, due to open in spring 2020, students will find an opportunity to participate in experiential learning during their very first year.


The “Herbie Lab”  will be home to the First Year Design Lab, a space where students will come together to consider issues related to today’s complex society to design and build engineering solutions for those problems. “Traditionally, students do not experience the interdisciplinary approach to tackling societal issues until their capstone design classes near the time of graduation,” Dr. van Oostrom said. “With the First Year Design course, we will capture their imaginations and instill the vision of becoming the New Engineer during their first year. This will help them set firm goals for succeeding in subsequent rigorous engineering coursework.”

One of the research efforts being undertaken by EED is the digital literacy moonshot, a multi-disciplinary strategic initiative led by Dr. van Oostrom and his team, aimed to increase the digital literacy of all UF students. “We envision a classroom that integrates the physical and virtual worlds, where students have goggles on, and they have their own individual instructor, a virtual instructor, who will teach them some of the basics,” Dr. van Oostrom says. “Then afterward, perhaps the students work together on a project. Students who need more help can get more help. Students who have grasped a concept can move on. Learning is virtually personalized and customized.”

UF is the first university in Florida and one of only 18 universities in the United States to establish a totally dedicated engineering education department that offers programs, degrees and/or certificates in engineering education research and pedagogy. The University of Florida’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering is proud to fully establish the Department of Engineering Education starting fall 2019.

UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering Recognized as a Model of Diversity and Inclusion Thu, 05 Sep 2019 13:51:54 +0000 The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) has recognized the University of Florida’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering as an exemplar of diversity, equity and inclusion.

The ASEE Diversity Recognition Program (ADRP) was created in 2019 “to publicly recognize those engineering and engineering technology colleges that make significant, measurable progress in increasing the diversity, inclusion, and degree attainment outcomes of their programs.” The recognition program is the result of the ASEE Deans Diversity Pledge, which has now been signed by over 220 of ASEE’s 330-member engineering colleges. The pledge commits signatories to engaging in four activities:

  1. Development of a diversity plan for the college that would “articulate the definition and the vision of diversity and inclusiveness for the institution; assess its need or justification; provide a statement of priorities and goals; commit to equity, implicit bias and inclusion training across the school; define accountability; and the means of assessing the plan through various means including surveys;”
  2. Commitment to at least one activity with K-12 schools or community colleges aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion of incoming engineering students;
  3. Commitment to developing strong relationships between research schools and non-Ph.D.-granting schools that serve diverse populations ; and
  4. Commitment to increasing diversity ad inclusion among the college faculty

At UF, the Engineering College has developed a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan that covers these activities and more. With the primary goal of providing an exceptional academic environment that reflects the breadth of thought essential for the preeminent position held by one of the nation’s largest public land-grant universities, the College has committed to a set of strategic objectives that are can be achieved by a community of students, faculty, and staff who have diverse experiences and backgrounds.

 “We have set ambitious goals for the College,” said Cammy R. Abernathy, Dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. “Achievement of our objectives can only be accomplished when people of all backgrounds, creeds, beliefs and experiences come together and view this place as their home for learning, and for contributing toward solving the toughest problems facing the world. The New Engineer knows no boundaries.”

Of the 74 colleges that were recognized in the ADRP’s inaugural year, UF was highlighted as a model for other engineering colleges to follow in their own efforts to achieve higher levels of diversity and inclusion. ASEE reviewers noted that the UF DEI plan had significant initiatives and outcomes that led to the exemplar status. As an exemplar, UF will be able to attain a silver classification as early as next year.