I hope this message finds you safe and well. It has been an extraordinary year, one that has underscored the grit, resolve, and dedication of our entire community — our faculty, staff, students, and alumni and alumnae alike. As chair of the University of Michigan Department of Mechanical Engineering (U-M ME), I have been privileged to witness their remarkable commitment and resilience in so many ways, and I’d like to share a few examples and accomplishments with you.
Prior to the emergence of the novel coronavirus and pandemic, we had begun the reflective and forward-looking (and fun) process of updating our department’s branding. Given the direct impact our work as mechanical engineers has on the world around us, the new branding focuses on how we “Make the world work better” by transforming futures, improving lives, and realizing breakthroughs.
Implicit in these taglines is an important question mechanical engineers and mechanical engineering researchers are always asking: How will I make a difference?
Nowhere is the role and impact of mechanical engineering more evident than in the way our community quickly mobilized and pivoted to ensure our teaching, research, and service initiatives not only continued but would help address the global pandemic. Together, we quickly developed new approaches to and practices for remote instruction, the safe operation and return to our research labs, maintaining our internal and external collaborations, and supporting one another.
The efforts have been nothing less than remarkable.