Pioneer and Problem Solver
As a North Carolina State University engineering undergraduate in the mid-1980s, Gregory Washington was among a group of students who complained to the dean that they couldn’t understand their graduate teaching assistants, most of whom were from overseas. “You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution,” the dean told Washington. “I’ve seen your grades and you should be thinking about graduate school.” The clincher: Washington would get paid while he pursued a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering.
While researching smart materials that respond to temperature changes and other external stimuli, with applications ranging from heating car seats to harvesting energy from computers, Washington discovered a passion—and talent—for teaching. “I felt I could have been taught better, and you best believe I’m going to do better at it,” he says. He credits NC State chemical engineering professor Richard Felder’s required teaching course for TA’s and new faculty with transforming his effectiveness as an instructor. “It changed my life,” he says. After joining Ohio State University’s mechanical and aerospace faculty in 1995, he took the two-day workshop a second time. “Our products are people and knowledge, and the people we produce have to be taught,” he underscores. “If teaching is not a big part of your focus, you’re in the wrong business.”
Accolades, including recognition for outstanding teaching and a National Science Foundation early career award, followed Washington up the ladder at Ohio State, where he was interim dean before his appointment in 2011 as dean of the Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. Under his leadership, the school has increased the number of faculty and students, instituted a popular freshman experiential-learning course in real-world product development, and led a university task force on ensuring a positive climate for the campus’s African-American community. “Partner or perish,” his mantra when he arrived, has borne fruit in such efforts as the “Moonshot Initiative” to establish a rocketry design-build-test lab.
A self-described “tough kid” from Harlem, Washington so alarmed his mother with his penchant for disassembling every toy he was given that she thought of taking him to a psychologist. “He’s probably an engineer,” she was reassured.
Now chair of the Engineering Deans Council, Washington has two major initiatives in mind for his term on the ASEE Board of Directors: a “state of engineering” address on the current challenges deans face, and a forum for identifying and rewarding institutions that have figured out how to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities in engineering.
Call for Nominations
The ASEE Nominating Committee, chaired by Most Immediate Past President Louis Martin-Vega, requests member participation in nominating board officers for the 2019 ASEE elections. Officers to be nominated for Society-wide Board positions are: President-Elect; Vice President, Finance; Vice President, External Relations; and Chairs of Professional Interest Councils I, IV, and V.
- All nominees must be individual members or institutional member representatives of ASEE at the time of nomination and must maintain ASEE membership during their term of office. Nominating Committee members are not eligible for nomination. The slate of candidates selected by the committee will not exceed two candidates per office.
- Candidates for President-Elect must be active members who have served or are serving on the Board of Directors. Because ASEE is a Department of Defense contractor, candidates for President-Elect must currently be U.S. citizens. Candidates for Vice President, External Relations shall be limited to those members of the Society who have previously served or currently serve on the Board of Directors. Candidates for Vice President, Finance shall be individual members or institutional member representatives of ASEE.
- Candidates for Chair of the Corporate Member Council and Chair-Elect for Zone II and Zone IV will be nominated and selected by their respective councils and zones, as the ASEE Constitution stipulates.
- Each proposed candidate for a Society-wide office should submit a first-person biographical sketch of fewer than 400 words that documents career contributions, ASEE offices held, awards and recognitions received, and educational background. Include comments on leadership qualities, ability to collaborate with others to achieve objectives, and willingness to serve if elected. Self-nominations are accepted. For nominations for the office of President-Elect, please include a statement summarizing why you think your nominee is a good candidate for the position. A listing of members who meet constitutional eligibility requirements for the offices of President-Elect and Vice President, Member Affairs is available from the executive director’s office at ASEE headquarters.
Nominations will be accepted electronically at email@example.com. Please include a subject line that begins with the words “2019 Nomination” so that it can be forwarded to the Nominating Committee. Please be assured that your nominations are confidential and will be seen only by the Assistant Board Secretary and Members of the Nominating Committee. The deadline to submit nominations is June 1, 2018.
Nominations postmarked by June 1, 2018, will also be accepted by mail. Please mark the envelope CONFIDENTIAL and address it to Louis Martin-Vega, Chair, ASEE Nominating Committee, ASEE, 1818 N Street, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036.
If you have any questions, please contact ASEE Assistant Board Secretary Christian Evangelista at (202) 350-3516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.