Professor joins young ME program at Baylor
After 11 years as a faculty/researcher in the MU Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, Professor Doug Smith’s career path has veered south, in the direction of Waco, Texas. Smith joined the faculty of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Baylor University.
“MU treated me well. I wasn’t really looking for another position, but one of my former graduate students, David Jack, is on the faculty here and told me they were expanding the ME department,” Smith said. “He’s a good faculty member and a good friend.”
At MU, Smith administered as lead on a successful Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) program, and he hopes to do the same at Baylor. Jack was a GAANN fellow at MU.
Smith received an NSF CAREER award in 2001 to study short fiber composites and has had continuous funding for the work until recently. Jack has been a collaborator on the research, as has MU math Professor Stephen Montgomery-Smith. The trio is preparing an NSF proposal.
Smith said the Baylor mechanical engineering program is less than 10 years old and offers only bachelor of science and master’s degrees. “The paperwork to start a Ph.D. program is on the provost’s desk and should be approved this semester, so this is an opportunity for me to step into a new program,” he said.
“Baylor is stepping it up and backing it up. It’s very exciting to be a part of that,” Smith said. “They have a mission to be a leading Christian research institution and are in the process of renovating a 500,000 square foot building for research collaboration. I’ll have a lab there.”
Smith said he has two new grad students he is introducing to fiber orientation and is still serving as an adjunct for MU MAE to continue working with his grad students here, one of whom is defending his thesis this semester.
“This will be the first time in 21 semesters that I’m not teaching 3100 [Computational Methods for Engineering Design]. I really missed stepping into the classroom,” Smith said, adding that he has had 1,246 students take the class.
“That class has a reputation of having a very heavy load. Students weren’t always happy with the amount of work required, but I think they valued the class afterward,” he said.
“Baylor’s a nice place and I’m getting settled in,” Smith said.