Tag: faculty

Par-Tee Time 3rd Annual Golf Outing

The Par-Tee Time Golf Outing will be held on August 4th, 2012

It’s that time of year, get your golf clubs out … it’s time to golf!

The School of Business and Economics, along with the MBA Association (MBAA) and the student chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA), invite you to join us for this great opportunity to network with the new dean, alumni, students, staff, faculty and community members in a friendly competitive environment. Bring your friends, all are invited!

Saturday, August 4th, 2012
9am registration and practice range
10am shotgun start; scramble format

Portage Lake Golf Course
46789 US Highway 41
Houghton, MI  49931

$70/person (must be paid by August 3rd)
MTU student price – $40
Pay day of – $320/team, $80/person
Price includes golf, lunch, cart and two beverage tickets per person.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners in each flight (which means if you’re not a very good golfer, you are still eligible to win in your category). There will also be cash prizes for the three course games,  and a special $10,000 Hole In One Contest!

Our raffle list keeps growing, Michigan Tech departments and over 70 local businesses have donated some really great prizes … hotel jacuzzi suites, ski passes, oil change, wheel alignments, spa gift basket, Aroma Therapy Whirlpool to name a few!

To register, please print the registration form here.

You can find more detailed information, as well as  sponsorship opportunities by clicking on the appropriate links.

For questions, please call Tanya at 487-2668, or email golfouting@mtu.edu.

Working Together: Faculty Discuss Interdisciplinary Research

The most obvious question at Wednesday’s faculty panel discussing interdisciplinary research was also the first:

“Why?” asked moderator Dana Johnson, professor in the School of Business and Economics.

“Because it is fun,” said Associate Professor Nilufer Onder (CS). “And I gain clarity and great satisfaction by working within multiple fields, not just one.”

Professor Barry Solomon (SS) agreed, “I’m motivated to find innovative opportunities, and reductionist research as practiced by most single disciplines is too limiting and not as natural.”

Professor Ann Maclean (SFRES) cited examples where she has learned about different fields: geology, volcanology, biological sciences and environmental engineering.

Learning about other disciplines was just one reward, the panel concurred. Sometimes a little nudge is involved.

“We’ve been pushed together in some cases: electrical and mechanical engineering,” said Associate Professor Jeff Naber (ME-EM), and director of the Advanced Power Systems Research Center, which is interdisciplinary in nature. “That’s driven externally, to the benefit of both research and education.”

“People in other disciplines offer different perspectives,” said Assistant Professor Greg Graman (School of Business and Economics). “Considering trees, for example, as a commodity in a supply chain, has given me a different view of what I think I know a lot about.”

Maclean stressed the importance of applying research to the real world, “and we need to have the outcomes of various disciplines mesh together into a cohesive, workable solution. NSF and other external funding agencies are stressing interdisciplinary research. There are instances where a RFP [Request for Proposal] says you need this type of researcher, and I’ve picked up my Tech Directory and started looking.”

Associate Professor David Watkins (CEE) cited the institutes and centers that routinely bring faculty together, and Onder said working on a topic such as artificial intelligence is of great interest to students, too.

“I read Tech Today to see if there are any seminars that might have a topic for potential collaboration,” Graman said. “I’m looking for connections.”

The importance of working together wasn’t lost on the panelists.

Maclean said it broadens her research. Onder claimed that those not collaborating risk slipping behind. Watkins said his work becomes more applicable and more attractive to students.

Johnson sought any positive and negative experiences from the panel.

“It opens up funding opportunities and access to people and other resources on campus,” said Naber. “You gain access to hardware and instrumentation, and, with a higher functioning team, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

“It depends on who you are collaborating with,” Solomon said. “It varies, but does not always end up being positive.”

There are personalities to contend with, Naber agreed. That’s part of learning to work in a group.

“And people come and go,” Maclean added.

“Sometimes it’s semantics,” Watkins said. “The challenges of different languages in different fields. Even NSF once looked for a group that wasn’t ‘interdisciplinary’ or ‘multidisciplinary,’ but ‘transdisciplinary,’ whatever that is.”

There are barriers, then, that the teamwork must overcome.

In addition to language, difficulties can arise from different statistical methodologies, not working in one’s field, and not necessarily having the same objectives. The panel also expressed concern that faculty may not be credited enough for interdisciplinary research.

“Junior faculty are looking for recognition,” Naber said. “They need to be rewarded. The credit needs to be shared, and they need to see that it is moving their careers forward.”

“How do you start doing interdisciplinary research and get funding?,” an audience member asked.

“Apply for a planning grant,” Maclean said. “We did that, met every week, were willing to see our original objectives change, and eventually our proposal was funded.”

A bigger question was, what to do in the long term, when there aren’t any funds, Naber said. “You look toward SFI [Sustainable Futures Institute] or involvement with directors of other institutes and centers. In Wood-To-Wheels, we are more focused, but we just haven’t gotten to that [long-term funding] level yet.”

Continual, long-term collaboration is important.

“With multiple team players, they can sometimes become too independent and not be viewed by the grant funders as ‘interdisciplinary research,'” Watkins said.

The panel offered advice to faculty, researchers and graduate students in attendance.

Be willing to do interdisciplinary research. Take classes outside of your field. Read more than your disciplinary studies. Review the topics at national and international society meetings to see what is being discussed. Network with your peers.

As for the future, Naber gave an example. “Intermodal transportation and electrical power generation will continue to merge,” he said. “And we are just at the beginning.”

“Sustainability will continue to be important,” Maclean said. “Almost every department on campus is already involved. The network is already built.”

And working together will become even more important. For example, Department of Energy grants nearly unanimously call for interdisciplinary research.

As the Tech researchers compete for their part of a continually shrinking pie, collaboration will be key.

by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor

Re-posted from Tech Today. See original article.

Family Tradition: Alan Brokaw

Marika Seigel and Alan Brokaw
Marika Seigel and Alan Brokaw

Alan Brokaw and Marika Seigel’s academic relationship crosses disciplinary boundaries and began long ago and close to home. Brokaw is a thirty-two year veteran of teaching marketing in the School of Business and Economics. Seigel is starting her third year of teaching rhetoric and technical communication in the humanities department, and we believe they are the first father-daughter tenure-track duo in the University’s history. (Seigel’s husband, Matt, is also an assistant professor in humanities.)

Seigel remembers sitting on the floor of one of her dad’s classes as a youngster. “I was pretending to stir soup,” she recalls. “Later I realized it was something called ‘college,’ where grown-ups went to school. I was impressed by that.”

The passion for education runs deep in the Brokaw family. Seigel and her brother, Tomas ’01, are the sixth generation of college graduates, and Seigel anticipates that son, Indrek Alan, and daughter, Annika, will be the seventh.

“There was always an expectation by my parents to go to graduate school,” Brokaw adds, “and we passed that on to our children.” Seigel shifted from a less-than-promising career in acting. “I wasn’t very good.”

Instead, a future in education occurred to Seigel as an undergraduate: she first entertained thoughts of teaching English as a second language, then literary criticism, finally pursuing her current field at Penn State. “And, after all, mom [Marianne Brokaw ’85 MS RTC] taught rhetoric, too.”

Is there a challenge teaching humanities or business at a technological university? “The humanities aren’t always as visible,” Seigel says, “but there’s so much interdisciplinary work going on.” She’s currently working with colleagues in humanities and computer science, looking at case studies to teach the rhetorical considerations when communicating with project stakeholders as a technical communicator or as a software engineer. Brokaw and Seigel have considered collaborating on the rhetoric of risk.

And as for teaching business? “I came up here for a style of life,” Brokaw says. “The fact that there was a great university here was a bonus.” Besides, “it’s a great job,” Brokaw says and Seigel agrees. “I came here to teach in one of, if not the best, RTC programs in the nation. The location was a bonus for me.”

Brokaw plans to retire in a couple of years, but Seigel is looking toward the tenure process and eventually teaching Annika or Indrek, continuing the family tradition.

Appeared in Michigan Tech Magazine, Winter 2007-2008, Volume 33, Number 3, page 14.
Click here to see original article and magazine.