Category Archives: Succeeding in ChE

How can I do better in my classes?

To help students who hope to do better in their academics, there are resources available at Michigan Tech through the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success, located on the first floor of the Administration building.

One option is to set up a regular appointment with a student peer success coach. This is coordinated through the Wahtera Center.  We have  had several students participate in thisprogram throughout the years and they had pretty good things to say about it. Mainly the coach served to help them find ways to stay on track.  For more information see the Wahtera Center’s website.



How can I prepare for registration?

Registration is always right around the corner, and before it arrives, it’s best to get prepared. Those of you who have tried to make an appointment with Katie near registration time know that her schedule fills up. She has “walk-in” office hours weeks 9-11, so you will not need an appointment, but you may face some lines. With this post I reach out to you with some advice to ensure that you have a good registration season.

Katie’s walk-in office hours schedule is posted here: blogs.mtu.edu/chem-eng-undergrad/

If you are uncertain what classes you need to take, please take a look at our video on Planning your Schedule.

Planning your schedule begins with the planning handout at this link (http://www.chem.mtu.edu/~fmorriso/advising/2015MoreAdvisingInfoHandout4SemPlanFAM.pdf), which shows a 4-year plan of how the Chemical Engineering curriculum maps out. I have indicated the classes that cause a bottleneck–these are the classes that are only offered one time per year. Up until the spring of junior year you have flexibility in when you can take classes. The three spring junior classes, however, (transport 2, kinetics, controls) are only offered in the spring. The senior chemical engineering classes (unit and plant operations, plant design, safety and the environment) are only offered once per year as well. This means that you need to be ready for those spring junior classes during the spring that you plan to take them.

The pre-requisites for our classes are summarized on this handout:  www.mtu.edu/chemical/undergraduate/advising/pdfs/prerequisite-map.pdf

To plan out your schedule you should map out which semester you intend to take the fixed classes (spring junior classes, senior classes) and then back-calculate when you will take the pre-requisites for those courses.

On the planning handout I have also indicated when classes are offered on-line, and I’ve highlighted some General Education (GenEd) rules that you should be mindful of as you plan out your GenEd choices.

Finally, once things get close to graduation, every requirement must be met and this can get confusing sometimes. For checking or auditing your compliance with your degree requirements Michigan Tech uses DARS: Degree Audit Reporting System. Go to your Banweb account, log in, and look for Degree audit. You can run your own degree audit. It takes a minute or two for the computer to slot all your courses into the various bins or “buckets” where they satisfy requirements. When it’s finished, you can take a look. Green is good; red is bad. You will see all kinds of lists and requirements that are checked. It is a computer program and online, so hopefully you can poke around a bit and figure out how it’s working. If you are a transfer student or if you transferred in courses, it is very helpful for sorting out what credits count for what.

Please take a look at your DARS and see how your credits earned are stacking up towards getting your CM degree. If you look over the attached sheet, consult the pre-req map, look at your degree audit, and make use of the handouts for minors and technical electives that are on the Advising web page, you will see that registration is a snap.

Thanks for your patience during registration season. We will endeavor to answer all your questions and hopefully we can find a solution that will lead to a smooth path towards your BS in chemical engineering.

More helpful links:

best wishes,

Dr. Morrison


Can I take PH 2200 and CM 3110 at the same time?

We recommend that you complete all the first and second year courses, including PH 2200, before beginning your junior chemical engineering courses, especially CM 3110.

Although we recommend that you complete PH 2200 before taking CM 3110, you are permitted to take them at the same time or to defer PH 2200 to a later semester.    In Fall 2014, 44% of the students taking PH 2200 and CM 3110 at the same time failed CM 3110 or earned a D in CM 3110.  Note, also, that PH 2200 is a prerequisite for CM 3310 Process Controls, which is only offered in the spring semester.

If you are not following the standard sequence, please reflect on your capabilities and your academic strengths and weaknesses as  you plan your schedule.  You may wish to discuss your situation with your advisor.  If you are a strong student, you can succeed in CM 3110 even without having completed all your second-year physics.  Even strong students, however, will get more out of CM 3110 if they approach it with the full preparation of all the first and second year courses having been completed with a C or better.


What is the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS)?

One of the frustrating things about registering is the uncertainty:  what classed do I need?  Does this class I’m looking at count as tech elective?  as gen ed?

One resource you have to sorting this out (besides seeing Katie) is the DARS tool in Banweb (Degree Audit Reporting System).  This tool checks your records (according to Michigan Tech) against the requirements for your degree.  If you’ve met the requirements, it goes GREEN.  If the requirements are not met, it stays RED.  See our advising video on this subject.

I would like to suggest that everyone try it out.

To get to DARS you log onto your Banweb account and under Student in the middle column look for “Degree Audit”.  Click there and run the current year audit.  Sometimes you have to wait – look for the circle above to see if it’s thinking.  It always has to generate the report to get the most current version.

When the DARS opens, you will see some graphics and a long column of red or green “buckets” of courses or requirements.  They are:

1.  Two buckets that check your GPA for both the department and for overall.  Both must be over 2.0 for you to graduate.
2.  Major requirements:  This is all your core math, physics, chemistry, and chem eng courses.
3.  Chemistry option:  here whether you take Organic 1 or Hydro Pyro you chose a different audit path.  In this section you will see the technical electives and the various categories of the electives.  Take a close look to see what classes you may choose from in each category.
4.  Six gen ed buckets that check if you meet all the gen ed requirements.  It checks if you have the freshmen courses, the sophomore courses, the HASS, etc.  It checks that at least 6 credits of HASS are at the 3000 level.
5.  Co curricular bucket – your phys ed courses.

The DARS system is what actually checks you out for graduation.  If it says you graduate, you do.  We have worked long and hard with the programmers in the Admin Building to get this system to accurately check you out for graduation – please use the DARS tool to guide you as you plan for registration.

There are some things that the DARS system will not do right until Katie “touches” your audit and makes an adjustment.  If something you chose or transfered puts you into this situation, you do need to come see Katie.  She’ll be happy to look at DARS adjustments after registration is over.

Hope this eases your registration experience!



If I fail MA 2321 (or MA 3521) and re-take it as MA 2320 (or MA3520), how will that affect my GPA?

The two course pairs you mention are equivalent courses.  If you retake the first course (half semester version) by taking the second course (full semester version) the first grade is replaced by the second grade in your GPA.

 

  1. MA 2321 Elementary Linear Algebra
  2. MA 2320 Elementary Linear Algebra

 

  1. MA 3521 Elem Differential Equations
  2. MA 3520 Elem Differential Equations

 


Is there a Chemical Engineering Learning Center?

In 2016 the answer is:  YES.  The OXE Chemical Engineering Learning Center (CMLC) is organized by the Chemical Engineering Honor Society OXE and it is staffed by students specializing in thermodynamics, transport, and fundamentals. There is a link to the Learning Center on the Departmental Undergraduate pages.  Please give your comments to OXE members to help improve this peer service.

 


Where can I find info on industrial safety?

From C&EN, May 20, 2013:

Dow Chemical has launched a laboratory safety website that includes a comprehensive set of training videos and additional resources, the company announced on May 19.

Publicly accessible at http://safety.dow.com, the website incorporates 30 professionally produced videos. Several more are still in production. Pankaj Gupta, a research and development leader in Dow’s oil, gas, and mining business, unveiled the site at the Council for Chemical Research annual meeting being held this week in Arlington, Va.

“It appears to have a lot of very good resources, and we will look at them very carefully,” says Peter Ashbrook, director of the division of research safety at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. “I think Dow should be commended for putting this material out for public consumption.”


How can I succeed in ChE at Michigan Tech?

Thanks for asking!  We have a whole handout on that.  The main idea is this:

Build a good foundation in math, physics, and chemistry (C or better).

It takes a long time to get to junior classes in chemical engineering, and yet it is only really in those junior classes that you will use much of the preparation that you are building.  In the fall junior classes we use:  calc 1, calc 2, calc 3****, differential equations, physics 1, and freshman chemistry.  Thus, it is important to build a good foundation.

Another good tool to look at as you plan your college experience is the prerequisite map.  The interdependence of the chemical engineering courses with the foundation courses is clear from the course prerequisites for the chemical engineering classes.