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ASU's Polytechnic campus dean honored with organization's top award

July 15, 2002

ASU's Polytechnic campus College of Technology and Innovation Dean Albert L. McHenry is the 2002 recipient of the nation's top award for engineering technology education, the James H. McGraw Award, given annually by the American Society for Engineering Education.

McHenry was recognized for his "major contributions and outstanding service to engineering technology education in the past 36 years." He is recognized nationally as an expert and leader in engineering technology education at both the undergraduate and graduate level, according to the ASEE.

McHenry has been dean of the college since its inception in 1997, previously serving as the School of Technology's director, when the program was located on ASU's Tempe campus.

"One has to be present in the engineering technology community to see what kind of respect he has and how people regard his decisions," said Lakshmi Munukutla, the associate dean of the College of Technology and Innovation who nominated McHenry for the award. "He has a good rapport with so many people, and the industry and academic communities look up to him."

An expert in digital electronics, McHenry has focused a significant portion of his research on improving engineering technology education, particularly for minorities. He received a $16 million grant in support of this activity from the National Science Foundation in 1991.

"I think it is just a tremendous honor to join the number of people who have been awarded this over the years. These are people who from the inception of engineering technology until today have built and supported the establishment we have."

McHenry has led ASU's efforts to advance engineering technology education. The College of Technology and Innovation is among the top engineering technology schools in the nation and has strict requirements for its professors. Each must hold a Ph.D. and have had a minimum of three years industry experience, a unique requirement among engineering technology schools and colleges.

The challenge ahead for the engineering technology field, and one, in which ASU's Polytechnic campus and McHenry are leading the way, is in the development of doctoral programs to prepare faculty to teach the ever-changing discipline. ASU's Polytechnic campus and Purdue University are developing model Ph.D. programs for the engineering technology field that require significant industry experience, in addition to engineering and physics education.

The American Society for Engineering Education is a nonprofit association that promotes and improves engineering and technology education. The organization represents more than 12,000 deans, professors, instructors, students and industry representatives.

"We're making sure that we're teaching the right technology at the right time to build a workforce to exploit the new engineering and new physics being developed in our labs today," McHenry said.