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Release: May 8, 2000

Three professors honored for contributions to UI College of Engineering

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Three University of Iowa professors recently received College of Engineering awards for their individual contributions to research, teaching and service.

The three, who were recognized April 24 by Dean Anthony Hines at the College's annual faculty/staff awards luncheon, are: Vijay Goel, professor of biomedical engineering, for research; William Eichinger, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, for teaching; and Theodore F. Smith, professor of mechanical engineering, for service.

Goel, who came to the UI in 1982, is co-director of the Iowa Spine Research Center and a recognized authority on spine biomechanics. His research interests also include joint replacement, tissue bioengineering and dental biomechanics. He holds appointments in the engineering departments of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering, as well as in the UI College of Medicine orthopedics department. He has researched the problem of low back pain, with grant support from the National Institutes of Health, the Orthopedic Research Foundation and private industry, for 20 years.

Goel, who received his doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of New South Wales, Australia in 1977, has published more than 130 peer-reviewed articles, 20 book chapters, more than 200 abstracts, authored two books, and edited a conference proceedings. His former students include many biomedical engineering graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, residents and fellows from other relevant fields. From 1990 to 1995, he served as chair of the UI department of biomedical engineering. He and his students have won many awards, including the Volvo Award three times. In 1994 Goel was named a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. He serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals and serves as a reviewer for several funding agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the Orthopedic Research and Education Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. Currently, he is on the executive committee of the ASME-Bioengineering Division, and is a member of various subcommittees of other professional societies.

Eichinger, who came to the UI in 1997, is associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and research scientist at the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research. He earned his doctorate from the University of California-Davis in 1985 and conducts research in the fields of hydrology and fluid mechanics in the environment, atmospheric pollution control, and remediation. Eichinger was honored for making significant contributions toward helping students excel in the classroom.

In presenting the teaching award, Hines cited the Student Nominators' Statement: "The achievements of Professor Eichinger at the University of Iowa are remarkable. The best indicators of a positive, selfless, and influential teacher are the student evaluation forms that are mandatory at the end of each course. He feels that undergraduates are the best at responding to his enthusiasm and he enjoys teaching them new things, especially when they first comprehend a troubling concept. It is a cyclic relationship as the students provide him motivation when they get excited about learning, and he turns this motivation into an enthusiastic and actively involved discussion. As one student wrote, 'He makes us think like engineers and think with our common sense about what we're doing.' "

Smith, a UI faculty member since 1971, earned his doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1972. His research interests include: radiative properties and heat transfer, optimal control of thermal systems, and thermal sciences and engineering. His varied scientific and professional memberships include: American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Society of Automotive Engineers; American Society of Engineering Education; American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers; American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Committee on Aircraft and Astronautical Heat Transfer K-12; International Solar Energy Society; Iowa Academy of Science; Iowa Association for Energy Efficiency; Optical Society of America; Sigma Xi.

In presenting the service award, Hines noted that Smith's service contributions, which have aided the college, the university, and the state of Iowa, include:

-- Establishing and maintaining an outstanding curriculum.

-- Serving as chair of a multitude of departmental, collegiate and university committees.

-- Serving as chair of the College's Computer Committee for six terms, as well as serving on the university's Computer Committee for three years (one as chair).

-- Directing the Program for Enhanced Design Experience, a program uniting industry with the classroom in teaching students how to solve real-world problems.

-- Contributing to the engineering profession through national and international societies and providing critical technical expertise to area industry through consulting.

-- Serving as interim departmental executive officer of the mechanical engineering department.