Welcome From Dean Grasso
Dear Parents, Alumni, Faculty, Staff, & Friends,
The holiday season has flown by, some snow has finally arrived, and we have
been busy building the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS)
into a world class enterprise. The first issue of Spire was very well received,
and we had many positive comments from alumni, legislators, the University
community, and friends of the College. Thanks to all who responded, and we
look forward to hearing from more of you in the future. Please let us know
if you'd like to read about something in particular, or if you have an interesting
The spring semester is a busy time at CEMS. In addition to the typical
administrative challenges and the hustle and bustle of hundreds of Engineering,
Math, and Computer Science students, we are working very hard to recruit a
strong incoming Class of 2011. We are very pleased to report that CEMS applications
are up over 15% from last year (with almost 1500 applicants for 180 openings),
and we are planning to visit with hundreds of prospective students and their
families during our Admitted Student Visitation Days in February and April.
We are also planning for Honors Day and our next Distinguished Lecture in April,
Commencement Exercises in May, and in the coming months we will be very busy
interviewing outstanding candidates for four new faculty positions (to complement
the ten faculty members we added last year!).
Thanks again for your interest in Spire, and in the College of Engineering and
Mathematical Sciences, and keep in touch!
Domenico Grasso, Dean
P.S. One small change that you may find of interest is that the Votey Building
is now Votey Hall (see photo in the upper right of this page).
UVM Students Race to Save Our Environment
"Race to Win!" is the motto that speaks to the enthusiasm and
excitement of a key group of energetic UVM College of Engineering and
Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) students who have formed a new UVM student
organization called Alternative Energy Racing Organization (AERO).
AERO's first project — called GreenSpeed — is to create a UVM
hybrid racing car. This gas-electric hybrid vehicle will be powered by a motor
that can simultaneously use electricity AND gasoline to power the car, and it
will be designed with the ability to run solely on electricity.
Project GreenSpeed began when Doug Fraser, director of the Formula Hybrid
Project from Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, contacted
CEMS Professor Jeffrey Frolik. Fraser had news of a new hybrid competition
he was initiating with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) designed to give
engineering students the opportunity to explore hybrid technologies.
CEMS Announces New Logo Competition
We need a new logo, and in order to tap into the
creativity of our alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends, we are coming
directly to you to find out what creative talents can be found among the CEMS
We're looking for a logo "for the 21st century" that incorporates holistic
thinking, problem solving, and the Unity of Knowledge (find out more about
Keep in mind that our College includes Engineering, Mathematics and
Statistics, and Computer Science.
This must be new, original, copyright-free work that you produce. Due to
institutional restrictions, we cannot provide a cash award, but the chosen
designer will receive a $350 gift certificate to the business establishment
of your choice (i.e., retail, restaurant, travel).
Please e-mail a file of your design to
email@example.com or drop a high-quality printed version off at 109
Votey Hall. You may also mail a submission to the address below. Note:
submission of the design to Assistant Dean Dan Harvey shall be considered
confirmation of your intent to enter the competition, and if chosen as the
winner, you will give the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
the right to license the logo from you world-wide, in perpetuity, for any
purpose, in exchange for the stated prize. Be sure to save a copy, as
non-winning entries will be not be returned. Good luck!
109C Votey Hall · 33 Colchester Avenue · Burlington, VT 05405
CEMS — Supporting Student Success
Ezra Kahn came to the University of Vermont's College of Engineering and
Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) from New York City in the fall of 2003. He
received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UVM CEMS in December 2006,
and begins an Accelerated Master's Program for Mechanical Engineering this spring.
UVM allows Ezra to use nine credits from his B.S. towards his master's degree,
saving him time and money. "I'm really excited," Ezra says. "The Accelerated
Master's Program frees up a lot of time to focus on fun research projects."
Engineering Vision 2020: CEMS Outreach
Earth's sustainability and the roles of population growth, water quality,
disease prevention, food distribution and renewable energy resources will
continue to challenge the engineers of 2020 who are currently elementary,
middle and high school students.
These future engineers will need new strategies for engineering technology
to create sustainability for the planet. "Solutions to the critical issues
facing humanity, no matter how technologically laden, will require broad
thinking beyond any one discipline," says Domenico Grasso, Dean of the UVM
College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS).
U.S. Students Falling Behind
But according to Albert J. Simone, president of Rochester Institute of Technology,
students are falling behind at even the most basic level. "The current public
education system at the K-12 level is broken," he stated in a recent report,
"Tough Choices, Tough Times," prepared by the new Commission on the Skills
of the American Workforce. The report goes on to say,
"The first Commission never dreamed that we would end up competing with
countries that could offer large numbers of highly educated workers willing
to work for low wages. Whereas for most of the 20th century the United States
could take pride in having the best-educated workforce in the world, that
is no longer true. Over the past 30 years one country after another has
surpassed us in the proportion of their entering workforce with the equivalent
of a high school diploma, and many more are on the verge of doing so. Thirty
years ago, the United State could lay claim to having 30 percent of the
world's population of college students. Today that proportion has fallen to
14 percent and is continuing to fall. While our international counterparts
are increasingly getting more education, their young people are getting a
better education as well. American students and young adults place anywhere
from the middle to the bottom of the pack in all three continuing comparative
studies of achievement in mathematics, science, and general literacy in the
advanced industrial nations.
We have failed to motivate most of our students to take tough courses and
work hard, thus missing one of the most important drivers of success in the
best-performing nations.... [T]oo often our testing system rewards students
who will be good at routine work, while not providing opportunities for
students to display creative and innovative thinking and analysis."
In addition to these unsettling facts, a 2003 Trends International Mathematics
and Science Report shows United States 8th graders ranking 15th in average
mathematical scale scores, behind Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei,
Japan, Belgium-Flemish, Netherlands, Estonia, Hungary, Malaysia, Latvia,
Russian Federation, Slovak Republic and Australia. Another eye opener is a
1998 Harris poll which shows that 53 percent of Americans have no understanding
of what engineering is.
UVM CEMS Making a Difference —
Reaching Students, Impacting Schools
The University of Vermont's College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
is dedicated to making a difference in reversing these disturbing trends.
UVM CEMS is leading the way through a variety of outreach programs for
elementary, middle and high school students, featuring engineering, mathematics,
computer science and other technology-related, hands-on projects that challenge
students to be creative and innovative thinkers.
CEMS Student Balances Soccer and Engineering
When Connor Tobin, a native of Fort Collins, Colorado, was thinking about
college, he had a unique problem. He wanted to find a place where he could
play Division 1 soccer AND get a first-class engineering education. He was
considering Yale, among other colleges, and then he visited, and applied to,
the University of Vermont, mostly because he knew UVM had a strong, nationally
known soccer program. But he was pleasantly surprised to hear about the
direction the UVM School of Engineering was taking, and when he read Dean
Grasso's article on
"Engineering a Liberal Education," he was sold.