Dean presents 2017 engineering faculty, staff awards

The School of Engineering recognized faculty and staff members for their exemplary research, teaching, and professional service during the 2016-2017 academic year.

At the final faculty meeting of the year, Dean Philippe Fauchet announced faculty promotions, recognized emeritus professors, and he presented four annual awards during a reception following the May 9 meeting.

Adam Anderson has been promoted to professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Nabil Simaan has been promoted to professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Jason Valentine has been promoted to associate professor with tenure in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Robert Weller has been named professor of electrical engineering, emeritus.

Duco Jansen

The Edward J. White Engineering Faculty Award for Excellence in Service was presented to Duco Jansen, professor of biomedical engineering and associate dean for graduate education.

Fauchet cited Jansen’s additional role as interim chair of the Department of Biomolecular Engineering. “He served as chair and did not take the responsibility lightly. Duco is extremely passionate about the success of the department and the role it plays within the school,” Fauchet said. “His leadership led to a smooth transition to our new chair who arrived in January.”

The School of Engineering Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Russell Dunn, professor of the practice of chemical and biomolecular engineering.

Russell Dunn

Dunn was recognized for transforming the department’s undergraduate and design experiences, not only the way the courses are taught but also overhauling facilities to create unique lab and design multipurpose teaching venues.

Dunn also developed a Chemical Engineering Process Innovation Center, co-authored a second edition of a textbook and created highly innovative software packages for his senior design course. “Despite a significant teaching load, Russell’s teaching evaluations are among the highest in the school,” Fauchet said.

John Dunbar, facilities manager for the Department of Biomedical Engineering, received the Judith A. Pachtman Endowed Staff Service Award. The dean recognized Dunbar for his exemplary contributions to the department’s undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff.

John Dunbar

“John offers much more than building and technical support. He is known for his dedication. An excellent example of this is the coordination of the move and installation of two research labs in the Engineering and Science Building – from Ithaca, N.Y. to Nashville!,” Fauchet said.

Fauchet presented the “2016 Best Student Research Paper” Award to mechanical engineering graduate students Hunter Gilbert and Richard Hendrick, who share the award and the authorship of “Elastic Stability of Concentric Tube Robots: A Stability measure and Design text,” published in IEEE Transactions on Robotics.

Gilbert, Hendrick

“The paper is an elegant combination of applied math and mechanics. The subject is based on a concentric tube robot; a robot the size of a needle. While keyhole surgery was a revolution, this technology goes further and has the potential to be scarless where only a band aid after surgery would be necessary. The work is judged overall to have a high likelihood of impact,” reported the school’s Research Committee.

Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314
Twitter @VUEngineering