Table of Contents / Deans' List / Corrado Poli / Home

Of his work studying "the metallic phases of Apollo solids and rocks" ­ namely, moon dust ­ collected by moon-walking astronauts in 1968, Dean Joseph Goldstein of the College of Engineering says modestly, "Every engineer has his moment. That was my moment."

Dean Goldstein is perhaps too modest. It's easy to see how working on moon rocks could be a high point in a researcher's career, but Goldstein can rightly claim many accomplishments, as both a scientist and an administrator. His research project, "Shock and Thermal History of Unusual Iron and Chondritic Meteorites," has been continuously funded by NASA for the last twenty-five years. His personal interest in meteorites is evident from the color photographs of those extraterrestrial specimens, as lovely and mysterious as Jasper Johns paintings, on his office walls. Aside from the intellectual interest the subject holds for him, it helps keeps him in touch with what his faculty are going through. "As a researcher, I experience some of the same pain and agony," he explains with a touch of irony. "I have to write the proposal, wait to hear, find students, argue with the administration about overhead..."

As an administrator, he is thoroughly engaged in efforts to ensure the highest quality of learning and teaching in Marston, Marcus, Knowles Lab, and the other engineering buildings clustered at the northern end of campus. A metallurgist who earned his bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. from MIT, Goldstein came to UMass in 1993 after twenty-five years at Lehigh University, where he taught and held a series of administrative posts: vice president for research, vice president for graduate studies and research, director of the Electron Optical Laboratory. (It was during his tenure at Lehigh that he became a principal investigator on NASA's "returned lunar sample program.")

Articulate, intelligent, and personable, Dean Goldstein is one of those gifted people who can talk about technology in ways that illuminate rather than obscure. His ability to speak on behalf of the college has already yielded impressive results: under Goldstein's leadership, the college has secured nearly $40 million in grants to renovate labs, add a computer engineering building, and integrate and design for manufacturing into the curriculum.

The value Goldstein places on communication skills is also reflected in the fact that engineering freshmen now spend more time learning to write and make presentations than was once the case. (See sidebar.) "Traditionally, engineers have been hindered by their inability to sell what they design, to express their ideas, to explain what's in a design, and why someone should build it or buy it." he explains. "Engineers need to be able to write and speak well and holistically, to deal not only with the technical aspects of a design, but also the financial and environmental issues related to it."

Given the many hours he has spent in labs over the years, Goldstein also appreciates the need for adequate facilities. When he arrived on campus, he was surprised by the "huge contrast" between the quality of the faculty and the quality of the physical plant in which they taught and experimented. The facilities "were not what they should be," he says. Even with some changes since then, the college still needs to upgrade existing space and needs more space-about sixty thousand more square feet according to Goldstein.

Well-appointed facilities are important obviously in attracting faculty. "The needs of new faculty members can run the gamut, from a personal computer to a piece of equipment that costs $100,000," Goldstein says. Having the right stuff is also important in attracting students. Competition for qualified high school students is stiff; bringing them to UMass, says Goldstein, requires "particularly aggressive marketing." He adds that "recruiting freshmen takes up a big part of my time," stating with pride that students coming into his College have "the highest SATs at the university."

A stroll along the College's corridors reveals a fascinating array of research projects, some taking place behind doors with signs warning of poisonous gases and dangerous rays, others represented in photographs showing grad students and faculty in such far-flung locales as the Labrador Sea. The Video Instructional Program (VIP), one of the college's outreach programs, has an equally expansive outlook, beaming courses to engineering classrooms as far away as Africa. Faculty and students from the College's Energy Diagnostic Center assist small local companies by conducting energy analyses and proposing ways to reduce lighting, heating, and other energy costs.

Research in this College is often geared toward practical results. As it celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year, Goldstein has equally pragmatic goals for the future. He wants UMass to be ranked among the best engineering schools in the country. "That we broke into the top fifty," he says, referring to the College's ranking by U.S. News & World Report, "is a stamp of what we've already accomplished. The challenge is to get into the top twenty-five." He's also intent on increasing the number of women and minorities among undergraduates and faculty, citing the importance of the latter as "role models" for students. As a man who has held moon dust in his hands, Goldstein seems well-suited to the task of leading the school to the top.

Redesigning the Wheel

Over the years, Corrado Poli, head of mechanical engineering, saw freshmen in their first engineering course struggle to use computer-assisted-design programs without a sense of their practical application. When Joseph Goldstein became dean, Poli told him how he thought the course could be improved. He'd made these suggestions before, but Goldstein was the one, according to Poli, who said, "Let's do it!"

So, three years ago, Poli taught his first hands-on design course to twelve freshmen as a pilot project. This year, all 300 freshmen are taking this semester-long course in some form, with the tasks involved geared to each area of engineering.

In mechanical engineering, for instance, students take apart a computer diskette, a stapler, a pencil sharpener ­ some mass-produced product. Then, working in teams, they try to redesign it. While they aim to make it easier and cheaper to assemble, if the students conclude that the product cannot be improved upon, that's fine too ­ as long as they can show why. Along with using the CAD program to make renderings of the product, students make presentations and write about their findings. An early writing assignment might be to write just the section headings of a business report. Gradually, students work up to producing a full report.

While this course is far more faculty-intensive than its predecessor (twenty-four freshmen to a section, versus 100), the extra effort is paying off. Poli says that one student who had redesigned a computer diskette in the class got a job the next summer with a diskette manufacturer. His superiors found his redesign ideas so interesting, they arranged for him to dine with the company's vice president of engineering when the executive visited from Japan. The main thing, though, is to introduce engineering concepts and tools to students early in the program ­ and, in Goldstein's words, "for the kids to have some fun."


$103,000 Law School Admissions Council grant, Ronald K. Hambleton and Hariharan Swaminathan, educational policy, research and administration.


Program director, NSF operations research and production systems, Lawrence Seiford, mechanical and industrial engineering.


John Pearce Memorial Award for contributions to wildlife profession, Richard DeGraaf, forestry and wildlife management.

1997 Ornamentals Publication Award, American Society for Horticultural Science, Thomas Boyle, plant and soil sciences.

Senior Fulbright Research Fellowship (Africa), Curtice Griffin, wildlife ecology.

College Oustanding Adviser Award, George R. Howe, veterinary and animal sciences.

Board of Directors, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Massachusetts, Sheila Mammen, Consumer Studies.

Team Leader (Iraq), United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization/World Food Programme, Peter Pellett, nutrition.

1997 Faculty Internship, Club Managers Association of America, Rod Warnick, Hotel, Restaurant, and Travel Administration.


Subject of recent conference in the Netherlands entitled "On Belief: Baker's Theory of the Attitudes," Lynne Baker, philosophy.

G. Wesley Johnson Award for best article of 1996, National Council on Public History, David Glassberg, history.

Honorary doctorate, Freie Universitat of Berlin, Wolfgang Paulsen, Germanic Languages and Literatures emeritus.

Election to American Bandmasters Association, Malcolm Rowell, music and dance.

James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Historical Fiction for The Cattle Killing, John Edgar Wideman, English.

Member, German National Holocaust Memorial design commission, James Young, English and Judaic studies.


University Professor of Political Economy, Special Assistant to President William Bulger, and Director of Massachusetts Benchmarks Initiative, Craig L. Moore, Finance and Operations Management.


Humboldt Research Award for Senior U.S. Scientists, Barry Holstein, physics and astronomy.

$240,000 NSF CAREER Grant, Vincent Rotello, Chemistry.

$5 million NSF grant, Morton Sternheim, physics.

$500,000 NIH grant, Donald St. Mary, mathematics and statistics.


Associate Editor, Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Graham Caldwell, exercise science.

Director of Education and member of Board of Directors, Massachusetts Dietetic Association; Nancy Cohen, nutrition.

Citation Award, American College of Sports Medicine, Priscilla Clarkson, exercise science.

Inductee, American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Joseph Hamill, exercise science.

Board of Directors, Massachusetts Dietetic Association, Elizabeth Hoyle, UMass Extension.

Award recognizing work promoting fitness, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Frank Rife, exercise science.


Individual Research and Writing Fellowship, MacArthur Foundation Peace and International Cooperation Program, James K. Boyce, economics.

Guggenheim Research Fellowship, Arturo Escobar, anthropology.

$100,000 grant from National Center for Automated Information Research, Ethan Katsh and Janet Rifkin, legal studies.

Chancellor's Medal, Jerome Mileur, political science.