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Baysal Looks Forward to Another Exciting Year in Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology

Dean Oktay Baysal painted a portrait of a growing, increasingly diverse, Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology during his annual State of the College address at Old Dominion University on Friday, Aug. 27.

Baysal, a mechanical and aerospace engineering professor, outlined the growth and changes that have occurred in the program, such as, the creation of a department of Modeling, Simulation and Visualization Engineering, and the merger of the departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

"It's been a productive year for the college, and another exciting year looks to be ahead of us," Baysal told an audience of engineering staff and faculty, ODU President John R. Broderick, Provost Simpson, local politicians and members of the Batten College's Advisory Board.

"Since I'm an engineer, I'm going to start with the numbers," Baysal said at the outset of his presentation, providing a snapshot of the Batten College at the beginning of this school year.

With nearly 3,000 students, college enrollment has grown more than 20 percent in the past five years, Baysal said. Between full- and part-time faculty, and full-time staff, the college has more than 170 teachers and administrators, from 32 countries. However, Baysal said he'd like to increase the number of full-time faculty in the college by 15 percent in the next few years. Currently, 12 faculty searches are under way at the college, Baysal said.

In his hour-long presentation, Baysal singled out faculty members who have been tenured, promoted, come to ODU, departed or taken on additional responsibilities. He also paid tribute to two faculty members who died earlier this year: Richard Keplar, associate professor emeritus of engineering technology, and Eric Koster, director of motorsports at the ODU Langley Full Scale Tunnel.

Among the accomplishments of the college's faculty, Baysal touted the 489 submissions to technical publications by ODU engineers. The college also received 39 percent of the funded R&D projects received by the university, he noted. Baysal invited attendees to visit the Applied Research Center in Newport News, where many of the state of the art technologies are being developed.

Baysal also congratulated the entire college for receiving the maximum-length ABET accreditation, until 2016, after being assessed earlier this year.

For the year ahead, Baysal said the Batten College has adopted a "diversity commitment" to identify, attract, retain and graduate students from underrepresented groups, such as women and visible minorities. Baysal said ODU already has a higher than average number of minority engineering students, and women in engineering graduate at a rate higher than the rest of the college.

Baysal also singled out the 2011 Solar Decathlon team - an ODU/Hampton University joint effort - that was selected to participate in the world finals for designing and constructing an energy efficient house. The finals will be held in fall 2011 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

That project will involve considerable fundraising, but Baysal said the Batten College has had a very good year soliciting major gifts, raising more than $1 million in a difficult economy. Those donations and a slightly better investment market put the value of the Batten College endowment at $22.6 million, an increase of almost 10 percent over 2008, but still $7 million shy of the value of the endowment at the peak of the stock market in 2007.

This article was posted on: August 31, 2010

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