This plan identifies priorities for continuous improvement to all major aspects of the Department. Recommendations are organized into four pillars: Community, Research, Undergraduate, and Graduate Programs. Our plan guides activities within each pillar over the next five years. 


The Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering aspires to solve the most pressing challenges of the 21st century through world class research, unsurpassed student education, and dedicated service to the community.


  • To develop and nurture leaders in Mechanical Engineering though outstanding education and professional development
  • To create, explore, and develop innovations in engineering science and technology through leading edge research
  • To serve the local, state, national, and international communities by addressing critical engineering challenges


Scholarship: The creation and dissemination of knowledge is of paramount importance

Impact: We tackle the most important engineering challenges

Integrity: Our research, teaching, and learning is conducted with unwavering honesty and for the betterment of humanity

Diversity: We are receptive to diverse opinions and value all members of our community

Collaboration and Inclusivity: We value an environment where all members of the Department can realize their full potential, and where working together is celebrated



Objective 1: Periodically asses the climate for students, faculty, and staff

Objective 2: Building a welcoming and supportive ME community

Objective 3: Recognize the contributions of those who positively impact the ME community



Strengthening Research Programs

  • Increase median research funding level
  • Establish new Associate Chair for Research
  • Promote increased collaboration among faculty
  • Strengthen staff administrative support
  • Improve communication of research accomplishments internally
  • Improve communication and marketing research accomplishments externally


Undergraduate Program

Objective 1: Establish a robust approach to teaching existing and new computational tools; infuse topics such as machine learning (ML), data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) throughout the curriculum

Objective 2: Emphasize project-centered curriculum

Objective 3:Improve the student experience, broaden access to resources that support project-based experiences and courses to demonstrate applicability to all individuals, their unique life experiences, and their varied skillsets


Graduate Program

Continuous Improvement of the Curriculum

  • Ensure relevant graduate courses are regularly offered within each ME area
  • Provide a foundational and equitable curricular experience
  • Expand the Option III Master's Program; explore opportunities for certificates and micro credentials
  • Provide state-of-the-art learning and research facilities in support of the graduate curriculum

Admissions and Recruiting

  • Ensure that all full-time Ph.D. students are fully funded and receive a living wage
  • Expand and diversify the pool of perspective graduate students
  • Implement improved information systems for admissions and tracking of graduate student progress toward their degree

Enhancing the graduate student experience 

  • Explore the creation of a "research skills" course for new Ph.D. students
  • Create new awards to acknowledge the contributions and accomplishments of graduate students
  • Clarify the milestones for graduate degrees; communicate their importance to students & faculty; track their completion