Today’s complex, interdependent challenges encourage us to view emerging concerns from new vantage points.
We are explorers, inventors, and those who challenge conventional barriers, while maintaining our focus on facts, logic, and quality. The borders between disciplines may be useful, but they are human-made barriers and may be limiting as we seek to work creatively. This is why we deliberately work to revisit accepted paradigms and work across barriers that can divide thinkers and problem-solvers.
We face complex, interconnected global challenges as humanity seeks to allocate valuable natural resources, to provide sufficient food, water, and energy, to respond to a changing climate, to create a sustainable infrastructure, to mitigate disease and support human health, and to provide national and global security. Our best responses to these challenges must be transformational. They cannot be answered well by any single discipline, sector, nation, or geographic region.
At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, we are using The New Polytechnic rubric to redefine ourselves. It provides a basis for collaborating across disciplines and sectors and regions to harness the power of these tools and technologies to address the key intersecting challenges and opportunities of our time.
This approach follows a tradition that sets us apart and led to our becoming a polytechnic institute, finding the value in bringing science and engineering together. It takes advantage of the inquisitiveness and daring that led to our contributions to the space program and our entry into new areas like bioengineering. At the same time, we continue to respect the rigor, care, and respect for facts that is part of our heritage.
The best way to explore the spaces where knowledge, needs, and insights intersect is by bringing together people with different perspectives within a respectful community. As a technological research university that is deliberately residential, Rensselaer catalyzes collaborations that take advantage of the expertise, skills, and diverse points of view of our whole community, including students, faculty, alumni and alumnae, and administrators.
Today’s complex, interdependent challenges force us to work across disciplines, and, more, they encourage us to view emerging concerns from new vantage points. That exposes otherwise unimaginable solutions.
With this in mind, we purposely have created programs, organizations, projects, and places that bring together unique networks of our people that support the development of fresh ideas and provide innovative answers. And, even as we investigate our world through novel approaches, we insist on the rigor of careful experimentation, evidence, and testing.
For example, our deeper understanding of the potential for data to reorganize and reveal new possibilities, together with our mastery of powerful tools for computation, analytics, and visualization, is creating new areas of investigation in health, finance, and environmental science.
Within the framework of The New Polytechnic, Rensselaer is forming something vital to our world—combining our mastery of state-of-the-art tools with our tradition of rigor and adherence to evidence and truth as we introduce new ways to collaborate and cooperate. Each project under the aegis of this approach is a new experiment in building networks for innovation, and this creates new templates. As we achieve new levels of understanding, we renew our dedication to creating change that matters deliberately by reaching out to larger communities beyond our campuses.
A hallmark of the Institute has been participation through work with other universities, governments, and businesses. This is another vital way we look beyond borders and restrictions that often can constrain the application of ideas in new areas. We have never restricted ourselves merely to pushing the limits of science and technology. We have always helped to integrate and facilitate the use of new concepts and capabilities within society at large.
Change is inevitable, so we embrace it. By doing so, we rededicate ourselves to leading essential transformations that will benefit humanity.
Steven Cramer, the William Weightman Walker Professor of Polymer Engineering, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was cited for “distinguished contributions to the field of chromatographic bioprocessing, achieved through combined experimental and computational approaches.”
Farhan Gandhi, the Rosalind and John J. Redfern Jr. ’33 Professor of Engineering, has received a 2018 Educator Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). An innovative researcher in the field of rotary-wing aircraft, he was awarded the AIAA Faculty Advisor Award.
Shirley Ann Jackson, president, received the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal from the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University. The medal honors those who have made significant contributions to African and African American history and culture, and who advocate for intercultural understanding and human rights in an increasingly global and interconnected world.
Li (Emily) Liu, associate professor of nuclear engineering and engineering physics, has been named a fellow of the Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering program—ELATE at Drexel—a professional development program for women in STEM fields.
Michael O’Rourke, professor of civil and environmental engineering, received the 2017 James M. Delahay Award from the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations. The award recognizes outstanding individual contributions toward the development of building codes and standards.
Jennifer Pazour, associate professor of industrial and systems engineering, has won a Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The CAREER Award is given to faculty members near the beginning of their academic careers and is one of the most competitive and prestigious awards given by the NSF to junior faculty. Pazour also was named an inaugural recipient of the Johnson & Johnson Women in STEM2D Scholars Award.
Ganpati Ramanath, the John Tod Horton ’52 Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, has been named a fellow of the Materials Research Society “for developing creative approaches to realize new nanomaterials via chemically directed nanostructure synthesis and assembly and for tailoring interfaces in electronics and energy applications using molecular nanolayers.”
Jian Shi, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, has won a Young Investigator Research Program award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to pursue fundamental research on nanoscale complex materials that could lead to the development of next-generation energy conversion and sensing technologies. This is one of the most competitive awards for young assistant professors and researchers in the U.S.
Richard W. Siegel, the Robert W. Hunt Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, has been elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. A recognized leader in nanotechnology research, technology, and public policy, Siegel has been active in materials research for over 50 years.
Jian Sun, professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering and director of the New York State Center for Future Energy Systems, received the 2017 R. David Middlebrook Outstanding Achievement Award from the IEEE Power Electronics Society.
John Tichy, professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering, received the Donald Wilcock Distinguished Service Award from the Tribology Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He is the seventh recipient of the award, which was established in 1989.
Meng Wang, assistant professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering, has won a Young Investigator Program award from the Army Research Office to develop methods to extract useful information from complex data that could lead to improved image classification and object identification in surveillance systems. The Young Investigator Program award is one of the most prestigious honors bestowed by the Army on scientists beginning their independent careers.
George Xu, the Edward E. Hood Jr. Endowed Chair of Engineering, received the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award of the Health Physics Society in acknowledgment of his outstanding contributions to the science and technology of radiation safety.
Joe H. Chow, professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering, has been named Institute Professor of Engineering.
Jennifer Hurley, assistant professor of biological sciences, has been named the Richard Baruch M.D. Career Development Chair.
Miao Yu, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering, has been named the Priti and Mukesh Chatter ’82 Career Development Chair.
Eddie Ade Knowles, professor of practice, arts.
The income from an endowment established by the late David M. Darrin '40 is awarded annually to a member of the faculty who has made unusual contributions in the counseling of students. Nominations are by students and the recipient is chosen by Phalanx, the student honor society.
Lirong Xia, associate professor of computer science.
The award honors productivity in both teaching and research, with outstanding achievement in one of these areas.
Ishwara B. Bhat, professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering.
The award recognizes contributions faculty members have made to the education and motivation of students.
Joe H. Chow, Institute Professor of Engineering, professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering.
Established by Edward P. Hamilton, Class of 1907, in memory of William H. Wiley, Class of 1866, the award honors those who have won the respect of the faculty through excellence in teaching, productive research, and interest in the totality of the educational process.
Rob Hamilton, assistant professor, arts.
The fellowship was established by the Class of 1951 to commend faculty members for their outstanding accomplishments in education.
Wei Ji, associate professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering.
The award was created to recognize current members of the Rensselaer faculty for their outstanding teaching techniques, contributions to the campus experience, and commitment to students.
Richard Radke, professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering.
The award was established in 1994 to recognize outstanding accomplishments in classroom instruction.