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SIUE School of Engineering Researchers Receive National Recognition

Dr. Ryan Fries

School of Engineering researchers are receiving national praise for their work to reduce fatalities and injuries involving roadside incident responders through the creation of safety training materials. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has named their project, “Development of a Highway Incident Management Operational and Training Guide: Phase II,” a Sweet 16 High Value Research project for 2015.

Project participants from SIUE included Ryan Fries, associate professor and graduate program director in the Department of Civil Engineering, Yuliang Liu, professor of instructional technology in the Department of Educational Leadership, and alumni Michael Williamson BS’10 MS’11, Yuhui Qu MS’14 and Patrick Gu BS ’09. Also collaborating on the project was Huaguo Zhou, associate professor at Auburn University.

The authors of the two-phased project worked closely with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT). Phase II of the program created online modules to supplement in-class training, which was developed in Phase I.

“The training program brings together the collective wisdom of several different agencies that did not always train together,” Fries explained. “The material in our training helps IDOT employees understand the roles of other responders more clearly and helps responders from other disciplines understand the basic principles of communicating with traffic.”

As of April 2015, more than 3,000 incident first responders had been trained using the materials the team developed. The Federal Highway Administration has fully endorsed the project for use at the national level.

SIUE Mechancial Engineering Assistant Professor Invited to Engineering Disruption Leadership Summit

Jenna Gorlewicz

Dr. Jenna Gorlewicz, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has been invited by the American Society of Engineering Education’s (ASEE) executive director to present and be a part of the Engineering Disruption Leadership Summit, jointly sponsored by the ASEE, National Academy of Engineering and EDUCAUSE.

The summit is to be held September 28-29, 2015, and will convene executives and thought leaders in higher education, industry, professional societies, philanthropies and government to explore:

  • Promising practices for enhancing student learning and assessment
  • Strategies for enhancing and sustaining emerging innovations
  • Engineering education research frameworks and 21st century challenges

SIUE’s Shaw and Noble Receive Patent for Digital Potentiostat Circuit and System

Brad Noble Michael Shaw
Dr. Brad Noble Dr. Michael Shaw

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Mike Shaw and Brad Noble have received a patent (U.S. Patent Serial No. 13/371,230 issued as patent no. 8845870) for their Digital Potentiostat Circuit and System.

Shaw is a professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences. Noble is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in the School of Engineering.

“We designed a ‘no frills’ electrochemical and spectroelectrochemical methodology for teaching environments,” Shaw said. “The circuit was designed to minimize cost, yet still deliver high quality data for a limited range of functions suitable for the teaching lab.”

The basic concepts that can be demonstrated with this device are relevant to studying batteries, fuel cells and solar cells.

Shaw and Noble believed that the scarcity of actual electrochemical practice at the freshman and sophomore undergraduate level was likely due to the expense to acquire reliable instrumentation. Potentiostats can range in cost from $6,000-$20,000 and more than 20 would be needed to run undergraduate laboratories.

Their goal is to achieve broad dissemination of units through a commercial partner to reach more undergraduates, high school students, and perhaps, home-schooled students.

SIUE Engineering’s McKenney Selected as CyberGIS Fellow

mark mckenney

The National Science Foundation-supported CyberGIS Project has selected 13 projects led by 17 researchers across the United States for funding through its CyberGIS Fellows program. SIUE’s Dr. Mark McKenney, associate professor of computer science in the School of Engineering, was selected to promote cyberGIS (geographic information science and systems) education.

McKenney’s project will develop flexible education modules that cover key foundational concepts of cyberGIS. These modules can be used together as an extended module in a single course, or broken into smaller stand-alone modules that compliment concepts in traditional computing courses. The result is that the modules may be integrated into existing curricula in an effort to expose students to cyberGIS fundamentals or used together as an intensive foundation for cyberGIS.

The modules will use free and open-source software, freely available data and can be run on standard desktop computers, allowing the use of the modules in a wide range of settings.

CyberGIS, based on advanced cyber infrastructure, has emerged during the past several years as a vibrant interdisciplinary field impacting a broad swath of scientific domains and research areas. With the field’s rapid development, most of the related curricula and education materials do not systematically teach concepts and principles underlying cyberGIS, or cover problem-solving skills involving cyberGIS. McKenney and other CyberGIS Fellows will address this gap.

IDOT Adopts SIUE Online Training for Emergency Responders

ryan fries

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), in partnership with the Illinois Center for Transportation and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, is introducing the Traffic Incident Management Training Program.

“The online program is designed for emergency responders, including transportation workers, police, fire, and towing and recovery crews,” said Dr. Ryan Fries, associate professor and graduate program director in the Department of Civil Engineering within SIUE’s School of Engineering. “We have spent the past five years accumulating the research to make this program come to life and be highly effective.”

The online course is offered for all disciplines involved in incident management, and provides responders with information to improve their safety at incident scenes.

The program includes the new online course and a multi-agency in-class session. The online training includes 11 modules, each lasting between 15 and 30 minutes, to allow responders to view a whole module in one sitting. The in-class session runs a half-day, and is equivalent to the National Traffic Incident Management Training (TIM) offered by the Federal Highway Administration, but focuses on laws and responders in Illinois.

In addition to improving safety at incident sites, the trainings are expected to improve communication, coordination and cooperation between all emergency responders throughout the state.

Dr. Albert Luo Receives 2014 Distinguished Research Professor Award

Dr. Albert Chao-Jun Luo, professor in the SIUE Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, was named the 2014 recipient of the Distinguished Research Professor Award.

The award is an academic rank rewarding faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding and sustained contributions to research and creative activities. Luo will be recognized with the rank of SIUE Distinguished Research Professor for the duration of his tenure at SIUE.

“Luo’s dedication to the advancement of his field shows a tireless motivation to achieve excellence,” said Dr. Jerry Weinberg, associate provost for research and dean of the Graduate School.

Luo has achieved international recognition in the field of nonlinear dynamics with his theory of flow barrier vector fields. His colleagues have credited him with developing methods of calculating chaotic motion, as well as pioneering theories of dynamic physical changes that were previously unexplained.

In his own production, Luo’s work in nonlinear dynamics has been published approximately 125 times in refereed journals. He has also published 12 research monographs and more than 30 pieces in proceedings, special issues, chapters and edited books. External sponsors such as the National Science Foundation and local industrial partner Amsted Rail have funded his work.

Luo currently serves as an editor for four prominent journals in his field, as well as a book series. He also serves on editorial boards and various technical committees. This is not to mention the professional symposiums, tracks and conferences he has organized and chaired, which currently number over forty.

As a School of Engineering colleague noted, “His wide range of activities has made our mechanical engineering program better known externally, and has promoted the image of SIUE at the national and international level.”

In the midst of his achievements, Luo has not neglected his students. Colleagues testify that Luo instills in his students a confidence, motivation and respect for learning to match his own deep respect for education.

SIUE School of Engineering Captures 2nd Statewide Research Award


A student-faculty civil engineering research team within SIUE’s School of Engineering has won the Illinois Center for Transportation and the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) 2014 High Impact Project Award.

The recognition, which comes as the School of Engineering’s second in three years, is based on the team’s submission of its signature report, “Investigation of Contributing Factors Regarding Wrong-Way Driving on Freeways.”

Dr. Ryan Fries, associate professor and graduate program director in the Department of Civil Engineering, said the 224-page report reflects the collective efforts of the eight-member research team. Fries accepted the award Wednesday, March 26 on behalf of faculty and graduate engineering student contributors.

“In Illinois, there were 217 wrong-way crashes on freeways from 2004-2009, resulting in 44 killed and 248 injured,” Fries said. “This research project sought to determine the contributing factors to wrong-way crashes on freeways and to develop promising, cost-conscious countermeasures to reduce these driving errors and their related crashes.”

The SIUE research team reviewed existing literature to summarize the world’s best practices on design, safety and operational issues specific to wrong-way interstate driving. Then, they collected and studied six years of relevant crash data.

IDOT project chairwoman Priscilla Tobias, chief of the agency’s Bureau of Safety Engineering, said the synergy evident in SIUE’s 2014 and 2012 award-winning engineering research projects reflects the integrity of the research and its practical applications.

“Our experience with these research projects, and the workshops resulting from them, emphasizes the value of collaborating with other agencies,” Tobias said. “By working together, we access everyone’s best ideas, and that directly translates into reducing the number of fatalities and serious injuries on the road.”

SIUE's Cho to Participate in $70 Million Digital Lab Project


Sohyung Cho, associate professor of industrial engineering, is participating in the $70 million cooperative agreement with the Digital Lab for Manufacturing project which was recently announced by President Barack Obama.

The Digital Lab will be the nation’s flagship research institute for Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation (DMDI), applying cutting-edge technologies to reduce the time and cost of manufacturing, strengthening the capabilities of the U.S. supply chain, and reducing acquisition costs for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). It will be housed in Chicago with a network of manufacturing partner and research sites across the United States.

Digital manufacturing is the use of an integrated, computer-based system comprised of simulation, three-dimensional (3D) visualization, analytics and various collaboration tools to create product and manufacturing process definitions simultaneously.

“We expect to investigate advanced decision models that can help manufacturing enterprises to understand possible consequences of business actions and to review and adjust these decisions accordingly,” Cho said. “Advanced technology, such as radio frequency identification (RFID) that enables real-time tracking of products, will be at the core of agile and flexible manufacturing systems. This technology will potentially provide complete visibility for parts over all the logistics operations not only for manufacturing, but also for transportation and distribution, storage and inventory, and retailing and delivery.”

Gorlewicz Presents Research at Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium

Dr. Jenna Gorlewicz

School of Engineering assistant professor Dr. Jenna Gorlewicz was selected to attend the National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) Symposium. The FOEE Symposium was held on Sunday, Oct. 27 – Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, at the National Academies’ Beckman Center in Irvine, Calif. It brought together some of the nation’s most engaged and innovative engineering educators in order to recognize, reward and promote effective, substantive and inspirational engineering education through a sustained dialogue within the emerging generation of innovative faculty. 

“Being selected to attend was both personally fulfilling and professionally valuable to me as an engineering educator,” Gorlewicz said. “I had the opportunity to share my engineering education research efforts, learn from best practices and network with many innovative engineering educators.”

Gorlewicz presented her research efforts on the creation, integration and assessment of haptic (touch) devices and associated curriculum in enhancing student learning in engineering education.

“Her work on haptic devices has the potential to revolutionize teaching and learning, and help include all types of students, especially the visually impaired,” said Majid Molki, distinguished research professor and chair of the SIUE Department of Mechanical Engineering. “Being a first-year assistant professor at SIUE, her expertise and interest in the educational aspects of engineering is an invaluable asset to our program.”

SIUE School of Engineering to Work with USTRANSCOM

Dr. Cem Karacal

SIUE Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Ann Boyle signed a three-year cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) for the School of Engineering to work with the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) at Scott Air Force Base.

The collaboration will facilitate investigation of innovative technologies and techniques in multiple disciplines to provide new opportunities and understand potential solutions to address USTRANSCOM information technology capabilities and supply chain needs, while providing SIUE with diverse and complex research problems facing the management of worldwide logistics.

USTRANSCOM is a unified, functional combatant command of the Department of Defense which provides support to the eight other U.S. combatant commands, the military services, defense agencies and other government organizations. It provides full-spectrum global mobility solutions and related enabling capabilities as required.

SIUE’s expertise in information technology and supply chain management practices was attractive to USTRANSCOM. The relationship will provide opportunities for USTRANSCOM to understand the feasibility, utility and risk of new concepts and logistics techniques as applied to its missions.

SIUE faculty and students will have access to selected information on USTRANSCOM and federally operated information and logistics systems. They will learn about USTRANSCOM architectures, business processes, operational and security challenges and emerging government information technology and logistics techniques.

USTRANSCOM uses the same “Technology Transfer” authorities as federal laboratories to partner with industry and academia, collaboratively exploring future concepts and technologies and sharing expertise for mutual benefit. The outside party obtains access to government expertise and techniques and possibly technology or special facilities, while the government achieves deeper understanding of the potential benefits, risks and feasibility of new concepts and systems.

Both parties thereby advance their ideas and innovations and may use the information gained for their own benefit and future planning purposes. USTRANSCOM cannot pay the non-federal party, but otherwise either partner can contribute resources of their own choosing to make the teamed research possible.

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