Welcome Note from Department Head

Engineer Your Passion, Design Our Future

Joshua Summers

Dr. Joshua D. Summers

Engineer Your Passion, Design Our Future is our new motto. But what does this mean? We in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Dallas developed this statement through a fun design exercise where our stakeholders helped us understand who they thought we should be and who we think we should be. After surveys, focus groups, round tables and other ideation sessions, this phrase is what resonated most with the students, faculty, alumni, staff and industry partners. I would like to take a few minutes to explain.

The motto is two-staged. First, we want students to understand, define and build their own passions through our curriculum. They must own their experience here. Second, we want our alumni to envision and create the future. Instilling a forward-thinking mindset is central to our goal and mission. Word by word, we carefully developed the motto:

  • Engineer: Our mission as a department is to prepare future engineers for a constantly changing industry and profession. This includes providing undergraduates with a sound foundation in mechanical engineering principles and providing graduate students with research skills and tools. Thus, we begin as engineers and we persist as engineers.
  • Your: Our focus as a department is always on the student. More importantly, we want students to take ownership of their education and experience.
  • Passion: Our desire is that students find, develop, grow and engineer their own passions. These passions may manifest in artifacts (“I love airplanes”) or in processes (“I love building”) or in purpose (“I love helping people”). We are excited about supporting each of these passions and challenge our students to identify and evolve their passions throughout our curriculum.
  • Design: Our role as engineers is to engage in design and manufacturing, or “come up with ideas and make them”. These activities are supported by all engineering sciences and tools that are taught, learned and applied in the curriculum.
  • Our: We want our students to think broadly about how they use their tools and skills to benefit the welfare of all. This may be through making more cost-effective consumer products, developing more sustainable manufacturing processes or ensuring that human-machine systems are truly inclusive
  • Future: We do not know what will happen tomorrow, next year or in the next decade. However, we strive to equip our students with the proper tools to create a future that is desirable, exciting and beneficial to all.

Over the coming months, we will be exploring how this motto translates to action. Through this prism, we will make decisions, plans and improvements. We are excited to share our progress with you and invite you to join in the journey.

I would like to close with a quote from the first engineer and U.S. President Herbert Hoover. “[Engineering] is a great profession. There is the fascination of watching a figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper. Then it moves to realization in stone or metal or energy. Then it brings jobs and homes to men. Then it elevates the standards of living and adds to the comforts of life. That is the engineer’s high privilege.” I believe Hoover might have agreed that we need to Engineer Your Passion; Design Our Future.

Joshua Summers signature

Joshua D. Summers, PhD

Department Head and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Jonsson School Chair