Five Engineering Faculty, Staff Receive Excellence Awards

Friday, May 11, 2007

Five University of Iowa faculty and staff recently received College of Engineering Excellence Awards for their individual contributions to research, teaching, service, staff research and staff excellence.

The five, honored by Dean P. Barry Butler at the College's annual faculty/staff recognition luncheon on May 8, are: David Wilder, Faculty Excellence Award for Service; Karim Abdel-Malek, Faculty Excellence Award for Research; Wilfrid Nixon, Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching; Richard Hardin, Collegiate Staff Research Award; and Doug Eltoft, Mary Sheedy Staff Excellence Award.

Wilder is associate professor of biomedical engineering in the UI College of Engineering and associate professor of occupational and environmental health in the UI College of Public Health. Wilder, who also is a senior research scientist in the Jolt/Vibrations/Seating Laboratory of the Iowa Spine Research Center, is nationally known as an expert on the human body's response to vibration. Cited as an enthusiastic advocate for engineering and chair of the College Lectures Committee, he was recently elected meeting chair and program chair for the 2010 American Conference on Human Vibration to be held at the UI.

Abdel-Malek is director of the Center for Computer Aided Design and UI professor of biomedical and mechanical engineering. He also founded and directs the Virtual Soldier Research Program (VSR), established in 2003 to conduct basic and applied research aimed at creating the most advanced human simulation tools. Composed of 35 researchers, the program has received international recognition and more than $13 million in external funding. VSR's Santos(tm) is a modeling and simulation software and computer visualization environment for investigation of biomechanics, dynamics and many other aspects of human physiological behavior.

Nixon is professor of civil and environmental engineering and faculty research engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering. Nixon, who also serves as a researcher in the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, is an internationally known authority on winter highway maintenance and taught a Web-based graduate course in winter maintenance that attracted students from as far away as Sweden. He was cited for excellence in teaching such courses as structural engineering and transportation systems design, and he has made substantial contributions to the development of departmental undergraduate and graduate programs.

Hardin is associate research engineer in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. His research interests include the dynamics of continuous steel casting. In particular, he has been cited for his many peer-reviewed articles in the field of metal solidification published in professional journals. Also, he was noted for his outstanding work in teaching an experimental engineering course for several years and coordinating the course-related laboratory.

Eltoft, who joined the college in 1976, has served as director of operation for the Computer Systems Support group since 1983. Among its many support activities, the group recently added laptop classroom technology -- a first-of-its kind use of technology -- to an existing classroom in only 45 days and just in time for the spring 2007 semester. The project is only the latest in a series of outstanding solutions to educational needs in areas ranging from parts inventory to fiber optics. Computer system support continually is cited as a leader in advanced computer technology on the UI campus.