2017 Annual Report

The mission of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is to develop the intellect of students; to discover and disseminate knowledge; to serve and strengthen society by enhancing awareness in scientific, technical, and cultural arenas; and to promote humane sensitivities and understanding of interdependence.

Engineering Technology graduates will be equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to achieve success in their engineering field through a comprehensive program of educational, scholarly, and service activities.

The Department of Engineering Technology will be guided by commitments to:

  • Our Students
  • Supporting the engineering needs of the community
  • Developing curriculum responsive to the demands of the engineering environment

Use quality instruction to instill in students a lifelong desire to learn. Use knowledge in ways that will contribute to society. Apply the resources and research skills of the University community to the service of the city, the state, the nation, and the world in ways that will benefit humanity.

A.  Teaching: Curriculum changes, course revisions, and Professional Development:

Dr. Bakr

  • Revised Manufacturing Processes course (ETME2317) by adding Manufacturing Research Projects. The purpose of this change is to allow students to explore new and innovative areas in manufacturing, which goes beyond the current course material, and require outside research.
  • Revised Production Systems course (ETME 3312) by adding a companion project. A comprehensive, multiphase Case Study requiring team effort and additional outside research is developed as a companion project, consisting of multiple phases which parallel the progression of topics in the course. The Case Study was synchronized with the related course topics and exams.
  • Revised Quality Control course (ETME 3330) by assigning a Research Project to explore and report on the area of Quality Control Certification by the American Society of Quality, including certification levels.
  • Revised Senior Project I (ETME 4287) by upgrading two credit hour course. Entrepreneurship component has been added. This course by virtue of its nature changes its form every time it's offered, because it would always involve a new set of projects, as well as new student teams. Following are the list of projects for 2016-17 academic year:
    • Security Tag Attaching Machine : the design of a special purpose machine to be used in the retail industry for attaching security tags to garments.
    • Ft Electric/Hybrid Fishing Boat: design of a small fishing boat using electric/ Hybrid drive, for cruising and trawling on fishing expeditions.
    • Elevating Work Platform: design of a low cost, movable, elevating work platform capable of safely elevating the user to a maximum height of 20 Ft. to perform indoor and outdoor tasks.
    • Home Based Wind Generator: design of small wind generator, which can be mounted on the roof top, or on a separate structure to provide energy for selected applications and to storage for emergencies.
    • L/M Blade Finishing Operations: study and design of equipment to simplify and improve the post molding operations, at L/M Blades in Little Rock
    • Attachment for Conserving Energy in Biking: analysis and design of a flywheel system to store and use energy on biking trips.
    • L/M Adhesive Application System: study and design of equipment to improve the adhesive application process used in assembling the Windmill blades, at L/M Blades in Little Rock.
    • Electric Cord Storage Devices: design of a simple device that can be used for the storage of the excess length of various electric cords; ranging from power supply to communication cords.
  • Registered Professional Engineer (PE), National Society of Professional Engineers. (1982 - Present). Required for the practice of Engineering in the state of Arkansas.


Prof. Luneau (ECET Program Coordinator)

  • Revised Existing Degree Program (Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology). Efforts include revisions and updates to the ECET curriculum. Implemented changes that went into effect in the Fall 2016 semester. These changes were primarily to microcontroller courses, which were modernized as part of continuous improvement process.
  • Course (ETME 3360 & ETME 3311) improvements include development of PowerPoint notes. Exposure to publications by IEEE and other technical websites to relate to the material covered in the class.
  • President, Solar Splash, Inc., Little Rock, AR, United States. (1999 - Present). Served as the Technical Manager for Solar Splash, an international, intercollegiate solar and electric boat regatta. This involved maintaining the web site, managing the technical aspects of the event, and traveling to Dayton, Ohio, in June for the event. Implemented electronic timing and lap-counting systems for the event, which had been done manually for the previous 23 events.
  • Professional Engineering, Arkansas Board of Certification for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. (1991 - Present). License number 7517


Dr. Menhart

  • Developed New Course. ECET 3450 (Microcontroller Applications).It was offered for the first time in the fall of 2016. Developed all course materials and lab assignment. This course has modernized the microcontroller portion of the ECET curriculum.
  • Senior Project (ECET 4370). This course by virtue of its nature changes its form every time it is offered, because it would always involve a new set of projects. Each student works on a project individually. Following are the list of projects for 2016-17 academic year:
    • I2C Control over WiFi Using a Particle Photon.
    • GPIO Control over WiFi Using a Particle Photon.
    • ADC Control over WiFi Using a Particle Photon.
    • SPI Control over WiFi Using a Particle Photon.
    • Autonomous TrashBot Using OpenCV.
    • Ptolemy a 3D Mapping Robot.
    • NU Meter Systems -- A Web Connected Microcontroller Based Utility Monitoring System Using Non-Invasive Sensors for Simple Home Installation.
    • Tracking Quad Copter.
    • Home Automation and Security System.
    • Car Alarm with Text/GPS Module.
    • Automotive Heads Up Display.
    • Wireless Leslie Amplifier System.

Dr. Patangia

  • Revised Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy course and lab (4349 and 4149). This course and lab which was offered as a technical elective till spring 2017 becomes part of ECET curriculum beginning from spring 2018. Concept of hybrid energy with different forms of renewable energy and micro-grids with distributed power will be included in future offerings.
  • OCDA (Sabbatical) achievements:
    • Developed expertise in Hybrid energy that includes PV, biomass, and distributed low head hydro power.
    • Presented the NSF Green Energy course to graduate students (MS and Ph.D.).
    • Developed a hybrid tricycle rickshaw that is commonly used for short rides. It's human powered in combination with solar power on roof top. The design involved weight reduction, power train combination, and light weight solar panels with an efficient controller. It was extensively tested and still under test for long term performance evaluation. The concept has potential for India for hardship reduction of the poor.

Dr. Pidugu (Department Chair and MET Program coordinator)

  • Computer Graphics course (ETME1300). Improve visualization by making 3D models accessible to students. Models are printed using 3D printer.
  • Thermal System Design course (ETME): The team projects are important for this course and they are new every year. Students are expected to use knowledge gained not only in the thermal systems design course but also from pre-requisite courses: fluid power and applied thermal sciences. Following are the list of projects for 2016:
    • Solar Powered Pool Chiller
    • Methods of Improving Efficiency for Hot Water Appliances in Home
    • Liquid Cooled Jacket
    • Baby Bottle Warmer
    • Design of Heat Exchanger for Liquor Distillery Applications
  • Attended Service Learning Essential workshop conducted by Service Learning Academy. Completed all the assignments and group activities.
  • Attended 2016 ASHRAE Winter Conference. (January 23, 2016 - January 26, 2016). Coordinated student activities
  • Attended Essential Management Skills for Department Chairs workshop. (October 21, 2016 - October 22, 2016).
  • Professional Engineer License, Arkansas Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers & Professional Surveyors. (2012 - Present). License number: 14989

Dr. Sharma (new visiting faculty)

  • Attended BlackBoard training to enhance student learning in all of the courses he taught.
  • Revised Mechanical Engineering Technology FYE course (ETME1110) by adding labs on wind turbine.

Dr. Zhang

  • Revised Robotics & PLCs course (ECET 3308) by adding simulations / emulation.
  • PLCs laboratory upgrades underway with new equipment and also to increase capacity from 16 to 20 students.


B.  Scholarship / Research

  • Bakr, M. M. (PI), "Enhansing The Enterpeneurship Component of The Senior Project in The Mechanical Engineering Technology Program," Sponsored by Provost Office, UALR, $2,500.00. (2016)
  • Bakr's and Menhart’s Senior Projects serve as a vehicle for undergraduate student research and provide service to the University and to industry. Projects solicited from industry or proposed by students are screened to fit the curriculum requirements and to provide tangible value to the university and industry. Research Projects. The purpose of this change is to allow students to explore new and innovative areas in manufacturing, which goes beyond the current course material, and require outside research.
  • "Development of a Prototype Breath Analyzer and Monitoring System". Development of a prototype system for medical personnel to monitor patient compliance with a respiratory drug delivery system. The system would include communication via blue tooth communication and data storage capabilities. Held discussions and submitted an informal proposal to Dr. Ariel Berlinski, M.D., of Arkansas Children's Hospital.
  • Patangia, H. (PI), Viswanathan, T. (Co-PI), Balda, J. (Co-PI), Urbina, J. (Co-PI), "PIRE: Cross disciplinary collaborative research and training to advance UN’s Sustainability Development Goals and transform an existing city to an exemplary sustainable city in India as a model for adaptation in other developing nations.," Sponsored by NSF, Federal, $4,800,000.00. (Pending).
  • Patangia, H. (PI), "An Investigation of a Class of Switched Networks for Voltage and Current Balancing in a String of Batteries or PV Panels," Sponsored by NSF, Federal, $277,570.00. (Pending).
  • Patangia, H. (Presenter), Bhadra, S. (Co author), IEEE Southern Power Electronics Conference SPEC 2016, "An Analytical Solution of Switching Angles for Selective Harmonic Elimination (SHE) in a Cascaded Seven-Level Inverter," IEEE, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. (December 5, 2016).
  • Patangia, H., Bhadra, S., IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems ISCAS, "A Unified Analytical Solution for Harmonic Elimination in Power Converters," University of Arkansas-Little Rock, Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, Little Rock, MD, United States. (October 2016).
  • Pidugu, S. B. (Supporting faculty), "RET Site - Embedding Engineering Research for Next Generation Teaching," Sponsored by NSF, Federal, $606,042 (Not funded).
  • Pidugu, S.B. - mentored a team of five students (Ben Morin, Harrison Blume, Anthony Elkins, Joe Early, Garrett D'Amatp) to build a compact mechanical device to manufacture a projectile from a standard sheet of paper and test it by propelling it a maximum distance. Participated ASME Student Design Competition, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Stillwater, OK, United States. (October 1, 2015 - April 23, 2016).
  • Pidugu & Sharma: co-mentored a group of students to design a robot pentathlon. Student Design Competition is to take place in Tennessee Tech University (April 21-23, 2017) as a newly created ASME E-fests conference.
  • Sharma, A. M. (PI), Jackson, J. (Co-PI), "Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)," Sponsored by Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE), State, $2,650.00. (Not funded).
  • Ramachandriya, K., K. Kundiyana, D., Sharma, A. M., Kumar, A., K. Atiyeh, H., L. Huhnke, R., R. Wilkins, M. (2016). Critical factors affecting the integration of biomass gasification and syngas fermentation technology. AIMS Bioengineering, 3(2), 188-210. http://dx.doi.org/10.3934/bioeng.2016.2.188
  • Zhou, S., Xue, Y., Sharma, A., Bai, X. (2016). Lignin Valorization through Thermochemical Conversion: Comparison of Hardwood, Softwood and Herbaceous Lignin. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 4(12), 6608-6617. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b01488
  • Xue, Y., Sharma, A. M., Bai, X., Cheng, F., Brewer, C. E., 2016 AIChE Annual Meeting, "Catalytic hydropyrolysis of milled lignins derived from hardwood, softwood and herbaceous biomass using bifunctional catalysts," AIChE, San Francisco, CA, San Francisco, United States. (November 14, 2016).
  • Satich, A., Sharma, A. M., Gable, P., Smith, R., Brown, R. C., Wen, Z., Symposium on Thermal and Catalytic Sciences for Biofuels and Biobased Products, "Bulk gas-to-atomized liquid syngas fermentation reactor," University of North Carolina, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, Chapel Hill, NC, United States. (November 1, 2016).
  • Sharma, A. M., Xue, Y., Bai, X., 5th Annual Renewable Energy Conference, "Low pressure catalytic pyrolysis of lignin using bifunctional catalysts," Arkansas State University, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR, Jonesboro, AR, United States. (October 14, 2016).
  • Bai, X., Zhou, S., Xue, Y., Sharma, A. M., 14th International Symposium on Bioplastics, Biocomposites & Biorefining: Sustainable Bioeconomy to Marketplace, "Thermochemical volatilization of lignin for fuels and chemicals: effect of biomass specie and lignin extraction method," University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, Guelph, Canada. (June 2, 2016).
  • Zhang, W., Kim, J. (2016). Order and Parameter Estimation for Linear Systems with Generalized ADALINE Neural Network (n/a ed., vol. 1, pp. 328-332). Guilin: The 12th World Congress on Intelligent Control and Automation (WCICA 2016.
  • Zhang, W., Kim, J. A Neural Network Method for Order and Parameter Estimation Of Linear Discrete Systems. International Journal of Neural Systems (IJNS). (Journal Article, Submitted).
  • Zhang, W. System Identification of Linear Systems With A Linear Neural Network ---- On Relationship of LMS Learning and Least Squares Estimation (1st ed., vol. 1). Chongqing: 29th Chinese Control and Decision Conference  (2017CCDC). (Conference Proceeding, Submitted).


C.   Service

Dr. Bakr

  • Member, College Awards committee
  • Industry Projects for capstone projects

Prof. Luneau

  • Member, University Awards Committee
  • 3D Printer Maintenance
  • Library Liaison
  • Member, Department computer committee
  • Member, College UG Curriculum Committee
  • ET Website maintenance
  • Member, ET governance & promotion ad-hoc committee
  • Recruiting at Discover UALR
  • Reviewed DegreeWorks – ECET degree
  • Member, Administrative assistant search committee
  • Member, MET visiting faculty hiring committee

Dr. Menhart

  • Member, Department Computer Committee
  • Member, Department Personnel Committee
  • Member, Department Planning Committee
  • Member, College Assessment Committee
  • Chair, Admin. Search Committee
  • Member, MET Faculty Search Committee
  • Member, University Committee on Tenure

Dr. Patangia

  • Coordinator, Electrical and Computer Engineering Track.
  • Member, Graduate Curriculum Committee
  • Officer, IEEE Arkansas Chapter, Little Rock, AR
  • IEEE Branch Counselor, IEEE, United States
  • Branch counselor for UALR student chapter
  • Chaired a session on power quality - IEEE SPEC (Southern Power Electronics Conference), Auckland, New Zealand

Dr. Pidugu

  • Chair, MET Faculty (tenure track) Search Committee
  • Chair, MET Visiting Faculty (tenure track) Search Committee
  • Student Section Advisor, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • Student Section Advisor, The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • Participated in Fastlane Registration Event
  • Reviewed DegreeWorks – MET degree
  • Recruiting at Discover UALR
  • Conducted two sessions (intro to Mechanical and Fluid Mechanics) for high school students as a part of Engineering Scholars Program
  • Organized a guest lecture for MET FYI class. Mr. Josh Faulkner (Powers of Arkansas) and Ms. Fallon Mauldin (Cromwell) were the guest speakers
  • Judge, Central Arkansas Science Fair, Little Rock

Dr. Sharma

  • Reviewer/Referee, Bioresource Technology Journal, Fuel Processing Technology Journal, Biomass and Bioenergy Journal
  • Served as an Ad-hoc reviewer of grant proposal, Sun Grant Program
  • Served as a judge for the annual BEST Robotics Competition held at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, AR, November 5, 2016.
  • Co- Advised - 2017 ASME Student Design Competition

Dr. Zhang

  • Faculty Advisor, Tau Alpha Pi honor society


Other Academic / Research Activity

  • Patangia served as major professor for two Ph.D. students (Nikhil Gupta Gourisetti and Sraddhanjoli Bhadra) and one master student (Dennis Gregory).
  • Menhart served one Ph.D. committee (Ahmed Zurfi) and one master committee (Hussain Sayed)
  • Pidugu served one Ph.D. committee (Wissam Alobaidi)
  • Luneau – Academic Advising (about 150 ECET students)
  • Pidugu - Academic Advising (about 280 MET students)


D.  Student Success

  • UA Little Rock Engineering Technology students competed in the 2017 Student Design Competition at Cookeville, Tennessee. The Competition was organized as a part of E-Fest America East (formerly known as the Student Professional Development Conference) by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) this weekend at Tennessee Tech University.  The team consisting of Harrison Blume, Sunny Harshdeep, Jannice Bonilla and Christopher Bohner (All MET majors) was placed at 21st position out of 96 teams competed. It is an incredible performance considering the fact that team spent less than $800 on the Robot as compared to 5 to 10 grant spent by the most schools.  The 2017 Student Design Competition challenges students’ technical design skills to create a robot that is fast, strong, and agile.  The team needs to build a remotely controlled device to compete against others in five different events – a robot pentathlon (Sprint, Lift, Throw, Climb, and Hit)
  • Two MET students Spencer Young and Trent Smith participated in 2017 ASHRAE winter conference in January held in Las Vegas
  • Barrett (Charles) Stearns, Patrick Dinkins, Corey Barger, Patrick Cromer won 1st place in people choice awards category during EIT open house for their design project - Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) Bicycle.
  • Daniel Blackstock, Andrew Rickard, Richard Gregg, Ronald Evans won third place in elevator speech category during EIT open house for their design project - Elevating Work Platform.






Engineering Technology maintains an assessment webpage at the following link:


Faculty met several times during 2016-17 academic year to get ready for fall 2018 ABET visit. Collection of Continuous Improvement Assessment data is ongoing.

The following is extracted from the department webpage:

The Department of Engineering Technology offers both Bachelors (BS) and Associate of Engineering Technology (AET) degrees in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology (ECET) and Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET). All courses taken for the Associates degree apply toward the Bachelor’s degree. The four degree programs are accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET,http://www.abet.org.

Enrollment** Graduates Enrollment** Graduates
2016-7* 72 75 7 8 109 115 16 20
2015-6 63 65 1 8 99 131 8 19
2014-5 42 52 7 6 61 104 2 7
2013-4 37 54 6 14 46 110 1 14
2012-3 11 46 2 10 15 101 4 12


*          Summer 2017 graduates are not included as data is not available.

**        Spring enrollment. A student seeking degrees at associates and bachelors level will be listed under both AET and BS.

$          Beginning from fall 2015, Associates of Science (AS) degree is discontinued. In its place, Associates in Engineering Technology is offered. Graduation requirements remain same. Enrollment / Graduates listed under AET includes AS numbers as well.




  • Complete ABET self-study report
  • Hire one Tenure-track faculty in MET program to replace retired faculty
  • Increase the enrollment by 10 percent
  • Replace the computers in computer lab (ETAS 383) with new computers. This lab is used for ETME 1300, ETME 2303, ETME 2333, ETME 3328 and ETME 4321

A. Enrollment (1st major headcount and SSCHs)

                Engineering Technology Department (ECET & MET)

Fall 2016 SSCH: 1289

Fall 2016 Headcount: 207

Spring 2017 SSCH: 1290

Spring 2017 Headcount: 191

B. Retention (pending available data)

C. Personnel (number per category, tenure and promotion, etc.)

Four full professors, two associate professors, one visiting assistant professor, two research associates (lab), and one administrative assistant

D. Grants and Contracts

                See under Scholarship / Research

E. Fundraising     

F.            Other

                One tenure-track position is filled. Position is effective from fall 2017