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Dr. Donna Michalek Joins Department of Engineering at Mount Union

February 12, 2010

Dr. Donna J. MichalekDr. Donna J. Michalek has been named chair of the Department of Engineering, director of mechanical engineering and associate professor of mechanical engineering at Mount Union.

Michalek comes to Mount Union from Michigan Technological University, where she most recently served as assistant provost and associate professor in the department of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics (ME-EM).

“Donna brings a wealth of engineering knowledge and experience to our Department of Engineering,” said Dr. Richard F. Giese, president of Mount Union. “In this position, she will play a critical role in building our undergraduate engineering program. We are excited for her to join the Mount Union community and begin finalizing the curriculum.”

The two bachelor of science degree programs in mechanical engineering and civil engineering will begin in the fall of 2010. These programs will place Mount Union among the few private colleges and universities in Ohio that offer these essential degrees in four years. In the past, engineering graduates have come primarily from state institutions but Mount Union’s smaller size and strong reputation in math and science as well as its broad-based offerings will be an advantage for its graduates.

“I’m not sure that I can accurately express my enthusiasm about the opportunity to create a new engineering program,” said Michalek. “It is an opportunity that I will whole heartedly embrace. I will work diligently with the team to create a program that is not only unique among engineering programs, but also embodies the culture of Mount Union.”

Michalek earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Clarkson University in 1985, a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1988 and a doctoral degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1992.

She joined the faculty at Michigan Technological University in 1993, and has served in a variety of positions over the years including assistant professor, director of faculty success and diversity in the College of Engineering, and associate chair and director of undergraduate studies in ME-EM.

During her time at Michigan Technological University, she provided leadership in making improvements to its mechanical engineering curriculum, interacted with students both inside and outside of the classroom, engaged in funded research, served on a number of committees and led the university’s accreditation effort with the Higher Learning Commission’s Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP). She also coordinated the ABET assessment activities in ME-EM.

Michalek also was an ASME science and engineering fellow in the office of Senator James M. Inhofe and a mechanical engineer in the aerospace electronic systems division of General Electric. While earning her doctoral degree at the University of Texas at Arlington, she was a graduate teaching associate and graduate research associate in the aerospace engineering department. 

She has been awarded the Michigan Tech Distinguished Teaching Award, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Dow Outstanding New Faculty Award and the SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award.  She also was inducted into the Academy of Teaching Excellence and Order of Omega.

Michalek is an active member in the ASME, where she serves as an ABET program evaluator. She is also a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and has served as a National Science Foundation panel reviewer.

She has contributed a chapter to Environmentally Conscious Manufacturing and has had work published in Particle Science and Technology, Journal of KONES 2008, Journal of Manufacturing Systems and the Journal of Biomechanics, among other refereed journals. Michalek also has presented at various conferences and venues.

“The engineering search committee interviewed a variety of candidates for this position,” said Dr. Patricia Draves, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. “It was just the matter of finding the person with the right leadership qualities and experience that fit our campus culture. Donna’s wide-ranging knowledge will be a great asset to Mount Union.”

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