NATIONAL CHENG KUNG UNIVERSITY, TAINAN, TAIWAN
BANYAN  Research Express@NCKU
Volume 2 Issue 5 - November 30, 2007
Commentary
Ken P. Chong
SOME THOUGHTS ON A MODERN RESEARCH UNIVERSITY
Article Digest
Yean-Kuen Fang
Evaluation of post-annealing-induced defects dynamic behaviors on 90nm In-halo nMOSFETs with low frequency noise and charge pumping measuring techniques
Wei-Cheng Lo
Effect of soil texture on the propagation and attenuation of acoustic wave at unsaturated conditions
Ru-Band Lu
Acetaldehyde Involvement in Positive and Negative Alcohol Expectancies in Han Chinese Persons with Alcoholism
C.-R. Lee
Optically switchable biphotonic gratings based on dye-doped cholesteric liquid crystal films
Y.-T. C. Yang
Comprehensive Evaluation Criteria for English Learning Websites Using Expert Validity Surveys
News Release
News
5 More Indian Universities Join SATU Presidents’ Forum in Thailand The Academic Boundary Has Been Extended to Southern Asia
News
2007 Creative Engineering Contest - National Cheng Kung University Is the Winner
News
Alumni Association of Chemistry of NCKU Established   Yi-Jung Huang (’63) Is the First President
News
The First University Museum in Taiwan Opens at National Cheng Kung University
News
NCKU in Technical Collaboration with Texas High Speed Rail and Transportation Corporation
News
NCKU Thinkers Salon Tells You What You Don’t Know about Islam
News
The Exhibition of Contemporary Architecture in Mexico Dazzles NCKU
Opportunities
Activities
Editorial Group
SOME THOUGHTS ON A MODERN RESEARCH UNIVERSITY
Ken P. Chong
Engineering Advisor and Program Director, National Science Foundation, USA

Dr. Ken P. Chong received the Distinguished Alumni Award of NCKU in 2003.
Introduction

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classified the following universities as Research Universities I in the 1994 edition [http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/].
  • Offer a full range of baccalaureate programs
  • Are committed to graduate education through the doctorate
  • Give high priority to research
  • Award 50 or more doctoral degrees each year
  • Receive annually $40 million or more in federal support
The motto at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has been "People, Ideas, Tools and Institutional Excellence" [the wording changed a little bit recently] and to that I would add "Adequate Funding". If we do a good job in these five areas I think over time any country will do well in the science and engineering enterprise, as well as producing home grown Nobel laureates.

With the NSF motto in mind and adequate funding on hand [including major contributions from the Hong Kong Jockey Club], in the late 1980's the author (Chong) was invited by Prof. C. W. Woo as an academic consultant for the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, together with Eugene Wong of Berkeley, Chih-Yung Chien of the Johns Hopkins University, Jay Chen of JPL, and others, they were involved in the planning and design of a major modern research university. The university is now ranked No. 17 in technology globally in the newly released Times Higher Education Supplement.

Recently University of California – San Diego (UCSD) Chancellor Marye Anne Fox indicated that as one of the top 10 research universities she tried to “assemble the best groups of students and faculty….and invest in what they need…providing the state-of-the-art technology and facilities…”.

In the following, the author use Engineering as an example in some of the new cultures and development of a research university. Some of his personal experiences are described.

Engineering Development

Recognizing that life-long education is an important part of modern professionals, during the last five years the author (Chong) initiated and helped to establish the NSF Summer Institute on Nano Mechanics and Materials at Northwestern University training 130 faculty, post doctors, etc per year to be proficient in the nano technology. For details, see the website: [http:// tam. northwestern.edu/ summerinstitute/ Home.htm]. The Institute has been renewed for another five years. Recently Chong also helped to establish a similar Institute in Beijing Tsinghua University, co-funded by NSF and NSFC. Engineering is a dynamic and evolving field, and is changing constantly. The author has been advocating a new field in nano and bio mechanics. In 2004 he helped to create a new program in this area at NSF. To motivate the research communities, he also published several papers in this new area, e.g. Chong, K. P., “ Nanoscience and Engineering in Mechanics and Materials”, J. of Physics & Chemistry of Solids, 65(2004) 1501-1506, Elsevier. [No. 1 of ScienceDirect TOP25 Hottest Articles in 2005].
As the chairman of the NSF Civil Infrastructure Systems (CIS) Group, the author led and built consensus for a major NSF-wide CIS initiative which is changing the university culture in systematic approaches and integration. More recently he initiated a major multi-agency and NSF-led cross-disciplinary initiative for durability modeling and accelerated tests of materials and structures since a majority of infrastructure is deteriorating and becoming unsafe.

In 2005 the NSF Engineering Task Group on Making a Case for Engineering and came up with a report [ http://www.nsf.gov/ attachments/ 104206/public/ Final_Case.doc ] making the case for engineering education and the profession. Some major changes in the engineering curricula and practices are needed.

With the advances in computational hardware and software, simulation and modeling are evolving into the main stream in engineering and sciences. The NSF Blue Ribbon Panel on Simulation-based Engineering Science [chaired by Tinsley Oden] was formed in 2005 and came up with bold recommendations in computational science and engineering, simulation and other related areas. This effort continues gaining support from Federal agencies and is launching a worldwide assessment study [http://www.wtec.org/sbes]. Simulation-based Engineering Science could have great impact on engineering and sciences - could start another industrial revolution. See http://www.nsf.gov/ pubs/reports/ sbes_final_report.pdf

Concluding remarks

In the book, the World is Flat, the award-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, allows “readers to make sense of the often bewildering global scene unfolding before their eyes. With his inimitable ability to translate complex foreign policy and economic issues, Friedman explains how the flattening of the world happened at the dawn of the twenty-first century; what it means to countries, companies, communities, and individuals; and how governments and societies can, and must, adapt…” This includes of course research universities. A recent workshop at NSF on “5XME” explored how to train U.S. Mechanical Engineers five times better than those in developing countries in Asia [hence the name of the workshop] to be competitive in a flat world. In short, research universities play a critical role in training engineers, scientists, medical doctors/researchers and public servants of the next generation.

The motto at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) "People, Ideas, Tools and Institutional Excellence" as well as "Adequate Funding" are necessary components in building a viable science and engineering enterprise essential for the survival and prosperity of any country. Opinions expressed in this article are of the author, not necessary of the NSF.



KEN P. CHONG*, P.E., is the Engineering Advisor, and Program Director of Mechanics and Structures of Materials of the Engineering Directorate [ENG] at National Science Foundation [NSF]. He was the Interim Division Director of Civil and Mechanical Systems in mid-2005. He earned M.A., M.S.E., Ph.D., in Mechanics from Princeton University, 1969. He specializes in solid-mechanics/materials, nano-mechanics, and structural-mechanics. He also won the Distinguished Alumni Award of Taiwan National Cheng Kung University in 2003.
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