Volume 3, No. 1
  CECS News
Spring 2016

Dean's Message 

Dr. Pack

Dear Friends of the College of Engineering and Computer Science,

It is an honor to serve and lead as Dean of UTC’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. Since I assumed the dean position this past January, I have come to know firsthand the commitment and talents of the College’s faculty and staff, the energy and quality of the student body, and the dedication and invaluable support of the CECS alumni and friends. Working together as a team, we shall strengthen and expand the College’s role from a regional leader to a national one in teaching, research, and service.

The Spring 2016 semester is off to a great start, and in this issue of the CECS eNews, there is much good news to share. Ranging from the establishment of a new MS in Engineering-Automotive Systems program, responding to the economic and workforce needs of our region and the nation, to outstanding achievements by students and faculty, to support from corporate and individual donors, and to the strategic planning for the College’s future, we welcome this opportunity to keep you posted with exciting activities in the college, and encourage you to share them with others.

In collaboration, we will build upon the legacy of quality teaching, and explore new research initiatives and service opportunities, responsive to the needs of our community and the nation. CECS strives to develop exceptional engineers, computer scientists, researchers, and technologists through excellence in academics, applied research, and innovation. Your interest in and support of our endeavors are vital to the College’s continued success.

Daniel J. Pack, Ph.D., P.E.,
Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science


Master of Science Degree in Engineering: Automotive Systems - Enrollment Fall 2016

MS Engineering: Automotive SystemsThe University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) is pleased to announce that enrollment begins Fall 2016 in the new Master of Science Degree in Engineering: Automotive Systems.

According to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Tennessee is home to more than 900 automotive manufacturers and suppliers. Increasingly, engineers and related technical personnel in those companies need to advance their skills for the future. In 2015 alone, automotive endeavours in our area led to the development of over 4,000 new jobs and approximately $1.1 billion in capital investments. Chattanooga is recognized for the vital role our community plays in the national automotive industry, as well as our community’s commitment to private/public sector partnerships.

Master of Science in Automotive Systems Graduate degree, developed together with our automotive partners, is effectively meeting the changing demands of the industry, not only for our traditional graduates, but also for advanced engineering, design, and manufacturing. Unique features of the degree, include: emphasis on advanced manufacturing, a systems approach to design, advanced simulation, and a strong flavor of advanced program and project management. Choices are made among four groups of courses to allow students to strenghten their specific needs toward the future. Two foundation courses required for all students are specifically designed to strengthen the fundamental knowledge  in automotive systems, allowing students from diverse engineering and related backgrounds to be successful. A later simulation course plays to the strengths of the PhD program in Compuational Science and Engineering.

The MS in Engineering: Automotive Systems further evidences CECS’s dedication to responsiveness in academic innovation and effective initiatives vital to economic growth and workforce development. For information regarding the admission requirements, degree guidelines, coursework, internships and employment opportunities for graduates, check out UTC.edu/MSAuto.


Recent UTC CECS Sponsored Program Activity

"Improving Rigid Pavement Smoothness Using PolyLEVEL Material"
polylevelDrs. Mbakisya Onyango, Assistant Professor, Joseph Owino, Department Head, Ignatius Fomunung, Associate Professor, and Louie Elliott, Assistant Professor of UTC’s Civil, Chemical, and General Engineering department, and Aldo McLean, Assistant Professor of UTC’s Engineering Management and Technology department, were awarded $154,457 in January by the Tennessee Department of Transportation to conduct research on improving rigid pavement smoothness through the use of PolyLEVEL for the next two years.

Concrete pavement slab drop-off is among the major problems that are encountered in concrete pavements after years of service. Besides resulting in poor load transfer between slabs and eventually needing dowel retrofit and concrete slabs correction, it poses a safety hazard to motorists and productivity loss for the society.

This study seeks to evaluate the improvement of rigid pavements smoothness using injected PolyLEVEL to lift (level) concrete slabs in order to extend the life of concrete pavements and increase road users’ safety and comfort. The study will evaluate the dependability of the material immediately after installation and in the long term. Long-term performance monitoring of the pavements will be evaluated using the International Roughness Index (IRI) measurements and visual inspections every 6 months. In addition, the cost of using PolyLEVEL, asphalt and mud jacking will be compared, and computational modeling of PolyLEVEL material to evaluate its response to traffic loading will be performed.

"Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) Traffic Input Parameters"
mechanistic-empiricalDrs. Mbakisya Onyango, Assistant Professor, Joseph Owino, Department Head, Ignatius Fomunung, Associate Professor, and Weidong Wu, Assistant Professor of UTC’s Civil, Chemical, and General Engineering department, received $172,054 from the Tennessee Department of Transportation to create traffic input parameters for the mechanistic empirical pavement design guide for the State of Tennessee.

This project characterizes highway/urban traffic for Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) in January to develop Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) traffic input parameters to include: Truck growth factors; Vehicle (trucks) class distribution; Base year truck-traffic volume; axle and wheel base configurations; Hourly distribution factors; Monthly distribution factors; Average number of axle groups per vehicles for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) vehicle class 4 – 13; and Axle load spectra. UTC will work on Level 2 input parameters using regional or statewide data, with knowledge of past and future traffic characteristics.

SimCenter Investigators recieved an additional $10,000 from Oak Ridge National Laboratory for continued work on a pre-existing project that involves grid consultation services for the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL).

College of Engineering and Computer Science Strategic Plan

In concert with UTC’s university-wide strategic plan, CECS is developing a Strategic Plan for the College’s future for the next five years. Following the gathering of inputs from representatives of each of the College’s constituent groups – students, faculty, staff, alumni, community partners – the College Strategic Plan will be further reviewed by the College faculty prior to completion by the end of the current semester.

In his first weeks as Dean, Dr. Pack set this collaborative initiative as a priority for the College. He has welcomed the leadership and recommendations of Dr. Joseph Kizza, Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee; the campus and community representatives serving on the Committee; and the College Department Heads and Program Coordinators in this important effort. The completed CECS Strategic Plan will be disseminated broadly.

Dr. McMahon to serve as Associate Dean

Dr. Ed McMahonDean Daniel Pack announced last month that Dr. Ed McMahon will serve as the Associate Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science for the remainder of the present semester. For over three decades Dr. Ed McMahon has served the College as faculty member, academic administrator, researcher, student mentor, and more. Most recently, following a 24 hour retirement, Dr. McMahon began work on a part-time basis as Interim Associate Dean of CECS while also serving as Interim Head of the Department of Management and Technology and Graduate Programs during Dr. Alp’s tenure as Interim Dean. Dr. McMahon’s contributions to the College are matched only by his University-wide service and his demonstrated commitment to public service. Recognized by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission as recipient of the Commission’s Public Service Award, Dr. McMahon’s research, entrepreneurism, and desire to help improve the lives of others have benefited several local non-profits and their constituents.

Recent Gifts Have Positive Impact on the Present and Future of CECS

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. recently directed a gift of $75,000 to the College of Engineering and Computer Science in support of two areas key to student success. Through the generosity of Volkswagen, the opportunities of various student competition teams representing UTC will be dramatically enhanced: Mini-Baja, Steel Bridge, Concrete Canoe and Chem-E Car Competition. These competitions, sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, provide our students with enriching education experiences and opportunities to show off their work at national, sometimes international, venues, bringing visibility to UTC.

Volkswagen’s generous gift will also provide continued support of the College’s focus on attracting and providing educational opportunities to a more diverse student body, thereby enhancing the engineering workforce.

In acknowledging Volkswagen’s most recent gift, Dean Pack said, “CECS appreciates Volkswagen’s commitment to the College and the entire University in advancing our mission as an engaged metropolitan university committed to excellence in teaching, research, and service, and dedicated to meeting the diverse needs of our region through strategic partnerships and community involvements.”

Local industrialist and civic leader James F. Steffner, Jr., through a gift to the University of Chattanooga Foundation, recently directed $50,000 in support of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. The funds to be used at the discretion of the CECS Dean will enrich the teaching, research, and service components of the College’s programs.

Mr. Steffner is a member of UTC’s Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame which boasts membership of our region’s best and brightest business magnates. Known for his commitment to enriching and expanding educational opportunities for the citizens of our community, his recent gift to the College is further evidence of Mr. Steffner’s dedication to UTC.

In thanking Mr. Steffner for the gift, CECS Dean Daniel Pack noted the donor’s affirmation of the keys to his success. “Mr. Steffner has stated that the secret to success is surrounding oneself with good people and making decisions as a team. His acknowledgement of the importance of a team approach to decision making is an excellent example for the CECS family of students, faculty, and staff to follow in our teaching, research, and service to the community.”

Faculty Profile
Dr. Mina SartipiDr. Mina Sartipi, UC Foundation Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Dr. Mina Sartipi joined the CECS faculty in 2006 after receiving her Ph.D. degree in in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Georgia Tech. Dr. Sartipi teaches in both the Undergraduate and Graduate Programs of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and is involved in major research and scholarly activities.

Dr. Sartipi directs the work of the College’s Smart Communications and Analysis Lab (SCAL). SCAL leverages the expertise of faculty to address error control coding and big data analysis for communication and information processing-related problems in wireless sensor networks. Dr. Sartipi and her colleagues also focus their work on smart applications and intelligent systems to tackle the real-world challenges for smart cities and urban futures. In directing SCAL’s research initiatives, she has done extensive work in the following areas:

  • Urban Science and Urban Analytics
  • Data Acquisition and Compressive Sensing
  • Data Integration, Data Interoperability, and Big Data Analytics
  • Urban Connectivity, Observability, and Controllability
  • Smart Health
  • Smart Grid
  • Intelligent Transportation
  • Information Processing for Wireless Sensor Networks
  • Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS)
  • Modern Error Control Coding and Information Theory
  • Signal Processing and Wavelet Transform

As teacher and mentor, Dr. Sartipi has served as thesis adviser and defense committee member for a number of MS and PhD candidates in the College. Over the past five years she has served as a reviewer for IEEE journals and conferences, and as a National Science Foundation panelist.  Dr. Sartipi’s funded research over that same period exceeds $1.9 million in funding, resulting in a number of invited papers, journal papers, and professional conference presentations.

A native of Iran, Dr. Sartipi is married to Dr. George Yu. They have two children ages 3 years and 10 months. Her young family enjoys traveling and outdoor activities including hiking and rock climbing. CECS is fortunate to have her as a member of the faculty.

Shanae AndersonWelcome New CECS Employee

CECS welcomes it's newest member, Shanae Anderson, Administrative Support Assistant III, Engineering Management and Technology.

Community Engagement     

Tennessee Valley Public Power Association Technicians Train in CECS EE Labs

TVPPA TrainingThe Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, Inc. (TVPPA) is the nonprofit, regional service organization representing the interests of consumer-owned electric utilities operating within the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) service area. TVPPA members include both municipal and electric cooperatives, serving more than 9 million customers in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia.

On Wednesday, February 10, twenty-one area technicians participated in training utilizing the College’s electrical engineering laboratories with simulations of smart switches, relays, power connectivity, and metering. CECS welcomes the opportunity to partner with TVPPA as a training site for technicians and engineers.

The Electrical Engineering Department’s linkages to TVPPA through the College’s valued partnership with TVA in a number of key research and instruction initiatives are one component of CECS’s commitment to outreach and community service.

ACT workshopNSBEChattanooga Society of Black Engineers Sponsors ACT Workshop

On Saturday, January 30, the Chattanooga Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers sponsored an ACT preparation workshop for forty area high school students. CECS Dean Dr. Daniel Pack welcomed the participants, and Admissions Counselor Terrance Banks shared information about UTC.

Pictured above with the student participants, NSBE members were joined by CECS faculty members Drs. Joseph Owino, Soubantika Palchoudhury, and Nurhidajat Sisworahardjo who taught sessions on both test content and strategies. During the morning workshop, students also took a sample ACT test.

2016 marks the seventh year the UTC NSBE chapter has sponsored semi-annual ACT workshops for area high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors, as part of the chapter’s community service commitment. Civil Engineering faculty member Dr. Mbakisaya Onyango serves as faculty advisor to the campus chapter. The collegiate membership in NSBE is open to any undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

career fair billboard picCECS Spring Career Fair - March 2, 2016
All CECS students and alumni are invited to network with over 40 area employers participating in the College’s bi-annual Career Fair. On March 2 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., company representatives will share information regarding internships and full-time employment opportunities available in each engineering discipline and computer science.

By hosting the Career Fair in the Engineering, Math, and Computer Science Building’s 3rd and 4th floor breezeways, the College seeks to facilitate students’ access to potential employers prior to graduation.


faculty advisor congratsCivil Engineering Professor Dr. Ignatius Fomunung 2015 ASCE Advisor of the Year
Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Dr. Ignatius Fomunung was recently named 2015 Faculty Advisor of Year by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Under Dr. Fomunung’s leadership and through the efforts of his students and faculty and staff colleagues, the CECS Civil Engineering Program hosted a highly successful 2015 ASCE Southeast Student Conference which brought hundreds of student engineers and their faculty mentors to our campus.

Nominations for this national distinction are originated by students and the selection recognizes faculty members’ service both to the student chapter and to the Civil Engineering profession. Dr. Fomunung has been a member of the UTC faculty since 2005.

deans listCECS Student Achievement – Fall 2015 Dean’s List
Four hundred sixty-four students in the College were named to the Dean’s List for the Fall 2015 term. In meriting this academic distinction, students in all disciplines within the College earned semester grade point averages of 3.2 or higher. Congratulations!





Dr. Michael "Tennessee” Jones - SoCon Faculty All Conference Team
dr jones all soconDr. Michael Jones, CECS Mechanical Engineering Professor, was recently selected to be a member of the Inaugural All-Southern Conference Faculty Team.

Known to his students for his test problems featuring a character named "Tennessee Jones," Dr. Jones has served as UTC's faculty athletics representative and the UTC Athletics Board chair for a decade. He was a member of the University Athletics Committee and as subcommittee chair of the NCAA Institutional Self-Study Committee. Jones has also been a volunteer assistant and team photographer for the Mocs' track and cross country teams since 1988.

The Southern Conference recognized representatives from all 10 member schools. The recipients all share common characteristics - demonstrated service to the institutions, proven records of high scholastic achievement, and contributions to campus life and the local community.

Dr. Jones was honored by the Southern Conference and the UTC Athletics Board during the MOCS basketball contast against VMI on February 18, 2016.

Important Dates  

  • March 2  - CECS Job Fair
  • March 22 - CECS College-Wide Advisory Board Meeting - 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • March 30 - April 3 - IEEE Robotics Competition, Virginia
  • April 14-17 - Baja SAE - SAE Collegiate Design Series, Cookville, Tennessee
  • May 7 - Spring Commencement - 9:00 a.m.

Recruiting Our Students  

Job Postings for Students & Recent Graduates
Area, regional, and national employers actively recruit CECS graduates and current students from all engineering disciplines and computer science. CECS works with the University Career and Student Employment Center representatives to effectively share employment opportunities with current students and alumni.

In addition to timely postings on the digital boards and departmental bulletin boards in the Engineering, Math, and Computer Science Building, open positions are accessible via utc.edu/CECSJobPosts.

Potential employers are encouraged to contact Donna Cooper donna-cooper@utc.edu to share information regarding positions of potential interest to CECS students and alumni.