2016-2017

​To prepare career-ready graduates who can address the evolving needs of employers and to address complex challenges through the integration of innovative education, research, and service.

  • Continuous Improvement,
  • Excellence,
  • Professionalism,
  • Diversity,
  • Sustainability, and
  • Collaboration

Not yet approved by Assembly:

  • Provide innovative and diversified programs to enable our students to become qualified employees, to develop professionally, and to engage in lifelong learning;
  • Engage in the pursuit of groundbreaking ​research​​,​ novel applications​​, and entrepreneur​ial innovations​;
  • Offer service programs that address the needs of our community and region; and
  • Foster and grow mutually beneficial partnerships with alumni, industry,​ educators, government agencies, and other stakeholders through collaborative endeavors.

Engagement of the Community

EIT was very active with the community this last year. Several summer programs were hosted by EIT. The Engineering Scholars Program (ESP) held two sessions for high school students to provide exposure to various engineering disciplines through lectures, field excursions, and interactive labs and projects. The exposure to engineering, counseling, and advising sessions helped the high school students make informed decisions for choosing appropriate coursework in high school that will aid them in pursuing future careers in engineering. Thirty-nine students (23 males and 16 females) enrolled in the program. Applications were received from 22 counties in Arkansas.

UA Little Rock EIT was one of ten sites selected to host the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp.  Thirty-four promising middle school students (50% female) participated in the two-week, no cost residential program designed to provide an opportunity to enhance their proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.  Participants represented 16 Arkansas counties and 27 schools from 21 different school districts. More than 40% of the students participating lived at or below the poverty level.

Nine students completed the three-week High School Research Program (HSRP) designed to provide high school students with an opportunity to perform STEM-related research alongside UA Little Rock faculty in a residential, college setting.  There is no cost to students attending the program.  All of the students completing the program had a high school grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.50.  More than 50% of the students were female.

Thirteen high school students participated in the free, two-week residential Summer Transportation Institute designed to provide an opportunity for students to learn about careers in transportation.  Students learn about various transportation fields through fun, hands-on activities, field excursions, lectures, guest speakers, and group projects.  The curriculum covered safety systems and land, air, and water transportation.  The Federal Highway Administration funds the program and UA Little Rock served as Arkansas’ site for the fourth consecutive year.

Fifteen female students, 8th through 11th grade, participated in the one-week residential program called Girls Coding Camp. The camp is designed to motivate academically prepared females to enter the fields of computer science or information science. The female students participated in hands-on instruction, plant trips, and seminars featuring female professionals.  There is no cost to students attending the program. Ninety-three percent of the enrolled students had a high school grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 or greater.

Thirty-six teams from nineteen Arkansas counties and the state of Alabama registered to participate in Little Rock BEST, the hub managed by UA Little Rock EIT.  BEST (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology) features two parallel competitions. The first competition is a robotics game that is based upon an annual theme with four teams competing at once in a series of three-minute, round-robin matches.  The second competition is the BEST Award, which is presented to the team that best embodies the concept of Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology.  Elements for the BEST Award include a project summary notebook, oral presentation, table display, and spirit and sportsmanship. More than 330 students participated in the BEST Game Day on November 5, 2016 in the Jack Stephens Center.  Nineteen percent of the participants were either African American or Hispanic.  In addition, thirty-nine percent of the participants were female.

For the second consecutive year, Little Rock BEST facilitated the successful implementation of a robotic invitational with Stuttgart High School.  The intent of the invitational was to provide teams with an additional opportunity to refine or complete their designs outside of the six-week competition window and to provide teams advancing to Regionals with an opportunity to test new strategies.  The Ricebird Robotics Invitational was held at the Grand Prairie Center in Stuttgart on November 19, 2016.  Six teams registered for the event.

The EIT Leadership Council (LC) met on July 26, October 27, January 24, and May 2 (EIT Open house). Leaders from industry met with the EIT administrative leadership team that included the Dean, Associate Dean, Assistant Dean and the chairs of the six departments. All of the meetings begin with an update from the EIT college and then a focus topic is discussed. The council discussions in July centered on summer camps and alumni relations. In October, the discussion centered on cyber security. The LC meeting in May centered around the EIT Open House as members judged and/or viewed student work. In January 2017, the meeting centered on industry needs.

Activities in the EIT College

EIT Student Organizations continue to excel. EIT students attended and participated in the National Society of Black Engineers regional conference. The second annual EIT Open House was held in May 2017 with over 50 student projects on display. Additionally, EIT students received several awards this year. Eight students received Early Career Research travel awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Seven students presented posters or gave presentations at conferences. EIT students won first place at the Civil and Construction Engineering Construction Institute's annual Student Days, the UALR Cyber Security Club won fourth place at the CyberSEED competition. Yanyan Li received the 2016 IEEE Conference Best Poster Award. Chris Stephens and Caleaha Virgil were semi-finalists in the 2017 DOD SMART Application. Construction Management won third place in the ASC/TEXO Student Competition. Two students received $50,000 based on their proposed solution for intelligent vehicles. Information Science students won Best Use of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the Young Scientist Award from the MCBIOS Young Scientist Excellence. A Construction Management student won the (ASCE) Deep South Student Conference first place award. This is only a sample of student awards received this year.

There were two ancillary events designed to assist students in preparing for potential interviews with company representatives.  The Interviewing Skills Workshop included information on resume writing and interviewing skills.  This workshop was conducted by representatives from local technology companies PrivacyStar and FIS. The Meet-and-Greet event was designed to give EIT students an opportunity to meet company representatives and learn more about companies that were attending the EIT Career Fair.  More than 115 students and representatives from twelve companies attended the Meet-and-Greet.

UA Little Rock’s student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) created the College of Engineering & Information Technology (EIT) Career Fair in response to student demands to have companies interested in EIT majors in one location. It was held on the concourse area in the Jack Stephens Center on February 14, 2017 from 12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.  Nearly 300 students visited representatives from 47 companies, professional organizations, and graduate programs.  Of the 47 exhibitors, five professional organizations and graduate programs were represented.

The EIT College continues to grow. The 11th day census during Fall 2016 has a total EIT student headcount of 1255 (Fall 2015 - 1131) students of which 964 (Fall 2015 - 855) were undergraduate students (77%) and 291 were graduate students (23%). This represented a growth of 11% in total headcount compared to a year ago.  As the Civil Engineering family of programs grows, the newly approved undergraduate certificate in mobile web development, and Bachelor of Arts in Web Design and Development are promoted, we expect this growth to continue. Dr. David Manry joined the Department of Construction Management and Civil and Construction Engineering as an Assistant Professor and Dr. Ashok Sharma joined the Department of Engineering Technology as a Visiting Assistant Professor.

The EIT faculty and staff were successful in winning several grants from a variety of federal, state and private funding agencies. Examples of the agencies include: Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute, Arkansas Department of Higher Education, Arkansas Highway Transportation Department, Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Biomedical Research Foundation, and the US Department of Health and Human Services. The awards from these sources totaled over two million dollars during this year. These awards areas ranged from early events in Alzheimer pathogenesis to smart vehicle ad-hoc network to a wearable robotic object manipulation aid for the visually impaired.

As the above highlights make clear, this was a good year for the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology. The college engaged the community and impacted the internal college constituents. Below are some of the departmental highlights.

COMPUTER SCIENCE (CPSC)

Undergraduate and graduate enrollment has significantly increased for the department.

Dr. Xie received Faculty Excellence Award in Research and Creative Endeavors, EIT College of UA Little Rock.

Dr. Bayrak served as an editor for Elsevier Applied Soft Computing.

Dr. Chiang served as an ABET program evaluator.

Dr. Milanova served as the Session Chair for MPRSS 2016, Cancun, Mexico, as the editorial review board member for International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Consumer Health Informatics, and as the editorial review board member for Journal of Intelligent Systems.

Dr. Xie served as an editorial review board member for International Journal of Security and Networks, as an editorial review board member for Wiley’s Security and Communication Networks, and as a member for Securing our eCity Little Rock, Arkansas, United States.

Dr. Yu served as an editor for Journal of Platform Technology, as an editor for KSII Transactions on Internet and Information Systems, as an editor for International Journal of Security and Networks, as a track organizer for 11th International Conference on Body Area Networks, and as a track organizer for IEEE Globecom 2016.

Dr. Yoshigoe served as an editor for IET Wireless Sensor Systems and as the session organizer for IEEE International Symposium on High Assurance Systems Engineering.

 CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT (CMMG)

Two research articles were submitted in professional journals.

Seventeen formal presentations were made at professional meetings.

Faculty/Staff had two essays or articles published in popular or semi-popular publications.

Faculty and staff participated in thirty-nine professional, university and community service activities.

Two faculty were promoted to the rank of full professor.

One hundred percent of graduates in Construction Management passed the Associate Constructor (AC) examination.

One hundred percent of graduates in Civil and Construction Engineering passed both the AC examination and the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination.

Faculty and staff participate in twenty professional development activities, professional associations, memberships, certifications, and registrations.

Students entered the ASCE Concrete Canoe competition for the first time.

An undergraduate student received the first place award for best paper and oral presentation at the Deep South ASCE competition.

The Heavy Civil team placed second at the regional ASC competition in Dallas.

 EARTH SCIENCES (ERSC)

Drs. DeAngelis, Spinler, Shroat-Lewis, McMillan, and Ruhl attended the Annual Geological Society of America meeting in Denver CO in September 2016.

Drs. DeAngelis, Connelly, and McMillan attended the South Central Geological Society meeting in San Antonio TX in March 2017.

The ERSC Department sponsors the EARTHTalk! Lecture Series and Geology Summer Camp for high school students on the UA Little Rock campus.

The Central Arkansas Gem and Mineral Society donated $3000 for field camp scholarships and voted to continue funding.

Instructor, Joshua Spinler was awarded the ATLE Teaching Fellow Award in May 2017

Drs. Ruhl and Connelly are now registered professional geologists.

Dr. DeAngelis won the Faculty Excellence Award in Public Service for the EIT and was nominated for the 2017 University Faculty Excellence Award in Public Service.

Department Chair, Dr. Beth McMillan passed the National Association of State Boards of Geologists Practice of Geology Exam in March 2017.

Enrollment increased overall from Fall 2016 to Spring 2017.

Faculty/Staff published four journal publications and presented at least thirteen times at professional meetings.

Grants and contracts awarded totaled just under $10000 and over $1.6 million submitted.

 ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY (ET) (ECET & MET)

The department submitted federal grants totaling $5,683,612 and state grants totaling $5150.

Faculty/Staff participated in twenty research activities.

INFORMATION SCIENCES (IFSC)

Dr. John Talburt received several awards for his service to the Information Quality Program at UA Little Rock.

Dr. Richard Wang joined as Executive Managing Director of Institute for Chief Data Officers.

Mr. Thomas Wallace designed and led a girl coding camp sponsored by UA Little Rock and EIT.

Dr. Xiaowei Xu was recognized as a Most Influential Scholar for his outstanding and vibrant contributions to the field of Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining.

Dr. Mary Yang’s FDA grant has more than doubled and is renewable.

Ph.D. Bioinformatics Student, Dan Li won Best Research Poster Award at MCBIOS.

E-Commerce Senior Project students developed informational websites for two community non-profits.

Faculty and students produced 54 journal articles, conference papers, books, chapters, or other edited publications during 2016-2017 of which Dr. Nitin Agarwal contributed to at least 22.

Dr. Nitin Agarwal was recognized as a Winter 2016 – Spring 2017 IARIA Fellow and received Best Paper Award on Social Media Technologies, Communication and Informatics.

Dr. Nitin Agarwal was awarded federal grants totaling over $3,600,000.

Dr. John Talburt was awarded a federal grant totaling $32,907.

State Contracts awarded to Drs. Dirk Reiners and Carolina Cruz-Neira totaled $12,000,000.

Private Grants totaling $75,358 were awarded to Drs. Reiners, Cruz-Neira, and Neumann.

SYSTEMS ENGINEERING (SYEN)

In October 2016, Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) approved our two new programs, Mechanical Systems Engineering (MSEG) and Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering (ECSE). These programs are designed to provide a broad-based education in the design and analysis of complex production, mechanical and electrical and computer systems and include electives to provide flexibility to target a specific career area or acquire broad background in related disciplines.

Our new Mechanical Systems Engineering is a unique, interdisciplinary program which combines the strengths of traditional mechanical engineering with a core of systems engineering concepts. This combination allows students to look at mechanical engineering design from a systems perspective. Mechanical systems engineers focus on the interfaces between components where design trade-offs are informed by overall system performance.

Our new Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering program teaches the design and analysis of various electrical systems including complex networks, digital and analog circuits, control and power system, integration of hardware, software, and operating systems with the goal of analyzing and optimizing computer systems, including networked systems.

The Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology undergraduate programs are accredited by ABET (new programs that have not yet had a graduate and the BA in Web Design are not accredited by ABET). ABET is the premier accrediting body for programs worldwide. “Developed by technical professionals from ABET’s member societies, our criteria focus on what students experience and learn. Sought worldwide, ABET’s voluntary peer-review process is highly respected because it adds critical value to academic programs in the technical disciplines, where quality, precision and safety are of the utmost importance.” ABET Website, http://www.abet.org/about-abet/

Graduate programs are assessed by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. The program review consists of a self-study committee which prepares a review of the program and faculty resources along with assessment. External reviewers consider the materials and come to campus and prepare a report on the programs.

The EIT Continuous Improvement Committee (CIC) is led by Dr. Nickolas Jovanovic and has representation from each academic unit in the college. Each representative is the central point of contact for all degree programs in each department with a view to continuous improvement in each program.

More details about EIT program review with a list of each program and its status may be found at:

http://ualr.edu/eit/additional-info/program-review/

Enrollment growth and program strength:

Target recruitment to continue to grow undergraduate programs in size and quality.

Develop a strategy for graduate student recruitment.

Create a new concentration in construction the focuses on Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Obtain ABET accreditation in new programs.

Complete long term plan for lab improvement/upgrades.

Explore new ways to approach how we teach our students so we can be at the forefront of the new generation of more student focused, distance/time flexible, critical/creative thinking, interdisciplinary course instruction.

Develop a better system for assessing student outcomes (Piloted by the Department of Information Science).

Implement more 2+2 partnerships and articulation agreements with Arkansas community colleges.

Scholarly activity:

Develop strategies for enhancing the quality of submitted proposals.

Increase collaborations across departments and colleges for multi-disciplinary proposal submittals.

Implement improved recognition of scholarly activity.

Community engagement:

Continue EIT Leadership Council quarterly meetings to strengthen partnerships with community stakeholders.

Integrate campus campaign into college goals and activities.

Develop a clear path for students after graduation to be employed, life-long learners, engaged with their community, fellow alumni, and their institution.

EIT - Fast Facts Fall 2016:

Most ABET accredited programs in Arkansas.

Computer Science was the first CS program accredited in Arkansas.

1255 total students (964 undergraduate students, 291 graduate students).

15 undergraduate bachelors programs, 4 associate degree programs, and 1 undergraduate certificate.

6 MS graduate programs, 4 graduate certificates, and 3 PhD programs.

61 faculty (includes administrators) 53 with terminal degrees.

19 staff.

6 academic departments, student services center, Institute for Chief Data Officers.

128 intellectual contributions published or accepted for publications since July 1, 2016.

5 provisional patents applied for and 1 regular patent granted since July 1, 2016.

59 active grants or contracts.

401 gifts with 106 distinct donors. Total amount in gifts and pledges is $632,671 for the year.