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UWyo Magazine
University of Wyoming
Dept. 3226
1000 East University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: 307-766-2379
TTY: 307-766-6729
Email: uwyomag@uwyo.edu

UWyo Magazine

January 2015 | Vol. 16, No. 2

A conceptual rendering of the engineering building expansion—the additional spaces will create a learning and discovery continuum that promotes innovation and creativity, offering an integrated approach to education and research.

Foundation for Success

New facilities to support the College of Engineering and Applied Science will create the infrastructure for excellence in education, research and service.

By Micaela Myers

A new era is dawning for the University of Wyoming College of Engineering  and Applied Science (CEAS)—an age that will elevate the college to new heights of excellence in education, research and service. Guided by the Wyoming Governor’s Energy, Engineering, STEM Integration Task Force and CEAS leadership, the Tier-1 Engineering Initiative was born. (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.) A complex of facilities—which includes the Michael B. Enzi STEM Facility, the Energy Innovation Center, the future High Bay Research Facility planned for the east campus, and a new Engineering Building north of Lewis Street—will provide the necessary infrastructure for growth.


The Tier-1 Dream

“I think the whole idea behind the Tier-1 dream for engineering is really creating a program, facilities and environment that turns out world-class undergraduate engineers, that has top-tier graduate programs, that has research that matters to the state of Wyoming and to global industry, and that has a fantastic K–14 pipeline of future scientists and engineers across the state,” says Thomas Botts, co-chair of the task force and a CEAS graduate. The retired executive vice president of global manufacturing for Royal Dutch Shell, Botts is a board director for EnPro Industries Inc. and Wood Group.

State Sen. Phil Nicholas, also a member of the task force, played an integral role in getting the initiative off the ground. As the father of four UW engineering graduates and a senator with many constituents in the college, he knew the Engineering Building needed upgrading and expanding. He also knew that a strong engineering program is good for Wyoming’s economy. “We always hear from our constituents that the No. 1 priority is jobs, the economy and economic diversification,” he says. Many new Wyoming businesses are university spinoffs. “If we can generate more industry out of the university, we can improve our economic development and our diversification. We’ve got to have a strong engineering program in order to do that.” He adds that the state also needs more engineers.

With tremendous support from Nicholas, the Legislature approved funding for the new Engineering Building, which has become a primary driving force for the Tier-1 Engineering Initiative, inspired by the success of UW’s School of Energy Resources (SER).

“I believe the Tier-1 initiative grew out of what we’ve been doing at SER,” says SER Director Mark Northam. “We developed a concept that we could advance our reputation and contributions in the energy sector by aligning our work with the needs of the state and becoming excellent in select strategic areas. Gov. Matt Mead recognized that in order for us to be completely successful, engineering was at the heart of all of this.”

“All of it came together and created a Tier-1 effort looking at how we take CEAS and develop niches of excellence that will rise the tide for all the departments and all the faculty,” Nicholas says.

“A large part of the state’s economy is built on energy, so having the university be an engine leading the way on energy education and research will help us maximize the value of the tremendous natural resources we have in this state. But the Tier-1 effort is not just about energy—it’s about the whole college,” Botts says.

“The Tier-1 initiative is an incredible opportunity for the college and the university as a whole,” says UW Tier-1 Engineering Initiative Program Coordinator Richard Horner. “One of its sole purposes is to create integrated, diverse research teams from across CEAS and other colleges. Another important integration concept is that we will work with external bodies, particularly government agencies and industry, to achieve goals that one or the other of us could not achieve alone.”

“CEAS graduates will be well prepared for the work-force,” says CEAS Interim Dean Al Rodi. “Having experience with modern techniques and faculty who are working on current problems is really the name of the game. There’s a definite relationship between quality instruction and research activity.”  The Tier-1 Engineering Initiative is underpinned by four strategic pillars: excellence in undergraduate education, world-class research and graduate education, productive economic development through partnerships, and K–14 STEM education, all of which you can learn more about in this issue of UWyo Magazine.  “We have the opportunity and resources to help us achieve these goals—support that is unprecedented on a national level,” Rodi says.

In order to achieve this growth, UW needs additional labs, research spaces and classrooms: Enter the High Bay Research Facility, Engineering Building expansion, and the new Michael B. Enzi STEM Facility.


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Industry Collaboration

The University of Wyoming has a proven track record of working with the energy industry to deliver successful solutions to today’s challenges. These partnerships have played a strategic role in funding the High Bay Research Facility, and UW extends its utmost gratitude for these partnerships.

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The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of the University of Wyoming


About UWyo

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UWyo Archives

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UWyo Magazine
University of Wyoming
Dept. 3226
1000 East University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: 307-766-2379
TTY: 307-766-6729
Email: uwyomag@uwyo.edu

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