Independent department on horizon for Mechanical Engineering

November 14, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – On Nov. 13, Nicolas P. Jones, Penn State executive vice president and provost, on the advisement of the Faculty Senate Council, approved the separation of the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering into two independent departments.

On July 1, 2019, the academic unit will become the Department of Mechanical Engineering once again.

“This parting charts a new path for each of the two departments,” said Karen Thole, distinguished professor and department head of mechanical and nuclear engineering and soon to be the department head of mechanical engineering. “A stand-alone Department of Mechanical Engineering presents an opportunity to continue innovating our research, undergraduate, and graduate programs with a renewed, distinct focus.”

The department merged with nuclear engineering in 1997 by then-Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering David N. Wormley and Richard Benson, then-department head of mechanical engineering.

Justin Schwartz, the current Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering, said, “I want to thank Professor Thole for her leadership of the department of mechanical and nuclear engineering for over a decade; it is by virtue of her remarkable success that we are in position to launch two successful departments.”

The future Department of Mechanical Engineering boasts a strong, successful history in research innovations and academic impact. First introduced at Penn State in 1881, the mechanical engineering graduate and undergraduate programs are now considered one of the best in the United States, ranked 17th and 16th respectively by U.S. News and World Report.

Mechanical Engineering, one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering programs, enjoys great success at Penn State with research expenditures continuing to hit record highs and $26.2 million in funded research during 2017-18.

With 54 faculty members, more than 300 graduate students, 750 undergraduate students, and more than 11,000 alumni, Penn State mechanical engineers are pioneering new ways to impact our health, happiness, and safety, and often change the way we think about the world.

The transformation of mechanical engineering will also build on the strength and the unlimited potential of the discipline. Schwartz said, “Mechanical Engineering at Penn State has a long, proud history of leadership in research and education, dating back to the earliest days of the University. By re-establishing an stand-alone Department of Mechanical Engineering, we are positioning the department for their next chapter of international leadership.”

 

Share this story:

facebook linked in twitter email

MEDIA CONTACT:

Erin Cassidy Hendrick, emc5045@psu.edu

“A stand-alone Department of Mechanical Engineering presents an opportunity to continue innovating our research, undergraduate, and graduate programs with a renewed, distinct focus.” - Karen Thole, distinguished professor and department head

 
 

About

With more than 60 faculty members, 330 graduate students, and 800 undergraduate students, the Department of Mechanical Engineering is innovating today what will impact tomorrow’s solutions to meeting our energy needs, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems. We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in mechanical engineering. See how we’re inspiring change and impacting tomorrow at me.psu.edu.

The Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the top ranked nuclear engineering programs in the United States. A strong focus on experimental research distinguishes us from many other programs. Our actively growing program has 8 faculty members and almost 90 graduate students. In the Radiation Science and Engineering Center, nuclear engineering students can take advantage of the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor, the longest operating university research reactor in the country. Visit nuce.psu.edu for more information.

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

137 Reber Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2519