Pratt Board of Visitors Focuses on CIEMAS

Also see Role of BOV

The Pratt School of Engineering’s Board of Visitors held its annual fall meeting Oct. 17-18 and focused much of its attention on the Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine and Applied Sciences (CIEMAS) set to open next summer.

Joseph H. Jarboe, chair of the board’s Building/Infrastructure Committee, reported that the $97 million complex continued on budget and on schedule with the expectation that it will be ready for occupancy a month or so before its August target date. Jarboe is a 1969 Duke engineering graduate and senior vice president of the Clark Construction Co. of Bethesda, Md.

The board split into two groups on the afternoon of Oct. 17 to tour the two-building, 322,000-square-foot center. Board members saw considerable progress since they last visited the construction site last April. Then, the concrete framework was taking shape with concrete still being poured for upper levels of the Fitzpatrick Center west building. Now, the east and west buildings are fully enclosed with classrooms, laboratories and offices taking shape inside.

When CIEMAS opens, critical new teaching space will become available, including the Lenihan Learning Center and an auditorium, said Tod Laursen, senior associate dean for education. He told the board that CIEMAS will provide considerable student teaching space, learning labs, independent study course support, and conference rooms dedicated for student use.

Executive Vice President Tallman Trask III met with the board the morning of Oct. 18 and said CIEMAS is the first building on the university’s new master plan. He said work on a new science building will begin early next year adjacent to the math/physics building and the Biological Sciences Building. A new 500-car parking garage opened nearby on Science Drive in September.

The board began its meeting with updates from the school’s academic deans.

Linda Franzoni, new associate dean for student affairs, said her focus this year is to improve student and faculty interaction. She said she is working on getting students more involved in school events, and building a stronger sense of community between engineering students and faculty. Franzoni is launching a series of evening socials at the various dorms on campus, focusing particularly on the freshmen East Campus.

“And I am working with Pratt Facilities and Communications to install plasma screen bulletin boards so that students can more easily see and plan for events like seminars,” Franzoni said.

Laursen framed his focus in terms of student recruitment and retention and curriculum development. He also briefed the board on changes that have been made to Pratt’s undergraduate engineering curriculum.

“We’re excited that in the Fall ’04, Pratt will pilot Engineering Innovations, a course where students will conceptualize, prototype and build something from their own design,” Laursen said.

Senior Associate Dean Robert Clark outlined his plans for program development. He noted that production of grant proposals has improved significantly, and that Pratt’s success rate is impressive.

“I am investigating every possibility to leverage the strength and research initiatives of joint and secondary appointments to maximize both our course offerings and research capability,” he said, noting that working with different departments is crucial for Pratt’s success. “That is a major opportunity for a smaller school like Pratt, and Duke excels at cross-department efforts.”

“One challenge we face is to manage the growing pains and culture changes brought about by our success,” said Clark. “We need to create opportunities for everyone to contribute positively.”

In other committee action:

--Jerry Wilkinson, chair of the Development Committee, said the board plans to meet Feb. 27 to join the university in celebrating the conclusion of the highly successful Campaign for Duke, and Pratt’s achievement of surpassing its fund-raising goal by 21 percent. Wilkinson, a 1967 Duke engineering alumnus, is president of The Wilkinson Group of Atlanta.

--The Education Committee, chaired by Martha Monserrate McDade, reviewed the Master of Engineering Management Program with its new director, Jeff Glass. McDade, president of Environmental Excellence Engineering of Rye, N.Y., received her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at Duke in 1981 and a master’s in 1982.

--Russell Holloway, associate dean for corporate relations, reported to the Industrial Relations Committee on the Pratt Industry Partner Exchange (PIPE), a new program aimed at increasing Pratt’s collaboration with corporations. The committee is chaired by Jonathan Guerster, president of offshoreVIEW of Charlestown, Mass.

--Norman Cocke, chair of the Membership Committee, reported the board has 59 members, 53 of whom are Duke alumni. Cocke is retired senior vice president and chief financial officer of Chronimed Inc., and a 1968 Duke engineering graduate.

--The Research and Technology Commercialization Committee reviewed the school’s technology transfer processes and discussed intellectual property ownership issues.

--Ozey Horton, chair of the Student Affairs Committee, director of McKinsey & Co, and a 1973 Duke engineering graduate, said a dinner with Pratt students on the eve of the meeting was well attended and “very upbeat.” He also said a briefing on the university’s career services efforts showed major advancements in that area.