James Rinderle Retires After a Distinguished Career
The College of Engineering is pleased to honor Associate Professor James Rinderle as he retires from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, where he has served his department, the college, and the university with great expertise and distinction since 1993.
Beyond many other responsibilities, he has been serving as the College of Engineering Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs since 2017. As part of this role, he led the college’s successful ABET reaccreditation for 6 core programs in 2019, as well as the initial accreditation process for the Biomedical Engineering program in 2022 (results of that accreditation process are expected to be announced this coming summer).
Dean Sanjay Raman says of Rinderle: “The College of Engineering is extremely grateful for the dedicated service of Jim Rinderle as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs over the past 6+ years. Among his many contributions, Jim provided critical leadership for undergraduate affairs during the COVID-impacted years. This involved overseeing a challenging and rapid pivot to online learning, the safe and successful continuation of essential hands-on laboratory work, and finally the full return to in-person classes in Fall 2021. Jim's dedication to supporting students and maintaining the excellence of our engineering curriculum has been significant.”
Among other awards and achievements, Rinderle is a recipient of the College of Engineering Outstanding Teaching Award, the MIE Department Teaching Award three times, and the MIE Department Advising Award, also three times. In addition, he was a National Science Foundation (NSF) Presidential Young Investigator.
Rinderle, who earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, worked as the MIE department’s Undergraduate Program Director, beginning in 2001, and the Associate Department Head for more than nine years. He has also served as MIE’s Honors Coordinator and a member of the Commonwealth College Curriculum Committee.
Rinderle was also a founding member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Design Theory and Methodology Committee, a member of the NSF Design Theory and Methodology advisory committee, and, on campus, was a member of the Faculty Senate Rules Committee.
As MIE Department Head Sundar Krishnamurty says about Rinderle, “Jim is a transformative educational leader with a tremendous gift for teaching. As our undergraduate program director, Jim has made many lasting contributions to the teaching mission of the department, and, as evidenced by his College of Engineering Outstanding Teacher of the Year award, Jim is also one of our best instructors.”
As a researcher, Rinderle headed the Design Automation Laboratory, and his research specialty is conceptual and configurational design.
Before coming to UMass Amherst, Rinderle was an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh from 1988 to 1993 and an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at that same institution from 1982 to 1988.
As Rinderle has written about his much acclaimed teaching method, “Beyond knowledge, concepts, and methods, we teach how to think and reason.”
How well does this method translate to Rinderle’s coursework? Student comments speak for themselves. As one of his students noted, “He is particularly adept at explaining complex concepts in a comprehensible manner.” Another student said that he is “really amazing when it comes to describing complicated things with diagrams and charts. Every homework assignment was literally a work of art.”
One other student summed it all up by noting that Rinderle teaches students “to begin thinking like real engineers.” (January 2023)