Interim Chair of Mechanical Engineering Named

New Department is Gearing for Influx of Students in Next Several Years

Jan. 13, 2008

Matthew Goeckner has been named interim chair of the new UT Dallas Department of Mechanical Engineering, which is expected to enroll 700 students within just a few years.

“The importance of Matt’s service as interim chair at the critical formative stage of the department cannot be overestimated,” said Mark Spong, dean of the Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at UT Dallas and holder of the Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair. “Enrollment in mechanical engineering is already significant and growing rapidly, and I am grateful that Matt has enthusiastically agreed to take on the demanding tasks required to begin a new department. I know his considerable expertise in teaching and research will serve well in this role.”

Last year the Jonsson School doubled its number of academic departments when two new ones – Materials Science and Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering – joined the long-standing departments of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.

“Engineers are good at creating new ‘things,’ and now we are creating a new department from scratch,” said Dr. Goeckner, a plasma physicist who joined UT Dallas in 1999 and is a professor of both mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. “Our first freshman class of 26 is off to an excellent start, and by the time they graduate in 2012 we expect the department to have grown to be home to 700 students and dozens of faculty.”

The Jonsson School’s mechanical engineering curriculum is expressly tailored to the needs of the modern mechanical engineer, providing instruction in micro-thermodynamics, micro-fluidics and other areas that will be essential for the 21st-century mechanical engineer.

Dr. Goeckner’s objectives include establishing partnerships with local companies, high schools and community colleges, and adding a Ph.D. program to the department’s bachelor’s and master’s degree offerings.

“We will also be working with the students and growing number of faculty to establish traditions that build lifelong friendships and love for learning,” he added. “In the end we will create a program that our students, faculty, alumni and partners can look at with pride.”

The Jonsson School’s other new department, Materials Science and Engineering, is a spin-off of the school’s electrical engineering department, consolidating faculty involved primarily in semiconductor materials research.

About the Jonsson School
With more than 2,700 students, nearly 100 faculty and over $31 million in research funding, the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at UT Dallas is in the midst of an expansion that includes the recent completion of a 192,000-square-foot interdisciplinary research building. Named after Texas Instruments co-founder J. Erik Jonsson, the school awards degrees in computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, software engineering, and telecommunications engineering. Areas of research include analog and mixed-signal circuits and systems; bioengineering; human communication technology; information assurance and cybersecurity; materials characterization; micro- and nanomanipulation; nanoelectronics; organic electronics; physical, chemical and biosensors; RF/microwave technology; and wireless communications engineering. The school also operates the largest internship and cooperative education program of its kind in Texas, averaging more than 700 student placements a year at Dallas-area high-tech companies.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Matthew Goeckner   Matthew Goeckner
is a plasma physicist. The professor of mechanical engineering and electrical engineering joined UT Dallas in 1999.

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