sealPurdue News

April 4, 2003

Purdue trustees OK 3 professorships, add program at Calumet

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Board of Trustees today (Friday, 4/4) honored three professors at the West Lafayette campus, added a degree at Purdue University Calumet and made several department name changes at regional campuses. The board also awarded two posthumous degrees.

Douglas Powell was named the Distinguished Professor of Child Development and Family Studies. Timothy D. Sands was designated as the Basil S. Turner Professor of Engineering, and Mark J.T. Smith has been appointed the Michael J. and Katherine R. Birck Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

"The two named professorships recognize two leaders in the field of engineering whose research endeavors are crucial to the advancement of Purdue in the sciences," said Provost Sally Frost Mason. "The distinguished professorship honors a pioneer in research on early childhood and parenting programs who also sets high standards in learning and engagement."

Douglas Powell

Powell's research focuses on early childhood and parenting intervention programs focused on child development and learning outcomes. He has authored more than 100 publications and is the editor or author of five books and monographs. Currently he is principal investigator of a $1 million U.S. Department of Education study aimed at strengthening the literacy development of children from low-income families. Powell is responsible for the It's My Child Too Extension program for young fathers, which received the secretary's honor award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1999. He also is adviser to the U.S. Department of Education and the federal Head Start Bureau.

From 1991 to 2002, Powell served as department head for Child Development and Family Studies. Powell earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Western Michigan in 1970 and 1971, respectively. He received his doctorate in 1974 from Northwestern University, and he concluded his postdoctoral work at Wayne State in 1977.

Powell was the recipient of Ann Hancook Educator/Specialist Cooperation Award in 1997, Hoosier Educator of the Year Award in 1991 and Mary L. Matthews Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. He also was a visiting scholar at de Lissa Institute of Early Childhood and Family Studies at the University of South Australia in May 2001.

Timothy Sands

Sands, a professor of materials engineering and electrical and computer engineering, has more than 180 refereed publications and 11 U.S. patents in pulsed laser processing of materials and nancomposite materials for applications in electronics, sensing, solid-state lighting and solid-state cooling. Sands also works in the area of integration of heterogeneous thin-film materials for the assembly of micromachines, including microrobots, labs-on-a-chip and microelectromechanical systems.

Before joining Purdue in 2002, Sands worked in industry at Bellcore (now known as Telecordia Technologies), the telecommunications company responsible for designing the modern U.S. telecommunications system. He also was professor at University of California, Berkeley, and a visiting professor at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. Some of Sands' awards include the 1988 Robert Lansing Hardy Gold Medal From the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, and the Materials Science and Engineering Excellence in Teaching Award from the UC Berkeley Materials Research Society Student Chapter in 1994.

Sands earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from UC Berkeley in 1980 and 1981, respectively. In 1984 he received his doctorate in materials science from UC Berkeley.

Mark Smith

Smith, a leading researcher in the field of signal processing, is the head of Purdue's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research interests are in filter bank-wavelet theory, image analysis and compression and transmission of images and video signals. His compression work includes coding natural images and image sequences, medical records and sensor image data. Smith, who has four patents, has contributed to the development of the new International Standards Organization JPEG 2000 compression standard for digital images.

He has worked with several companies on medical and defense application commercialization, including Line Imaging, Nichols Research and Trident Systems. Smith has published 185 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings, and he is the recipient of four Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers technical paper awards. He also has written four textbooks in support of his teaching activities, which include image and speech processing, wavelet theory and principles of speech processing. He received two teaching awards from Georgia Institute of Technology, where he served as professor from 1985 to 2001, and was a former executive assistant to the president.

In 1978, Smith earned his bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he earned his master's and doctorate degrees at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1979 and 1984, respectively.

The new appointments bring the number of distinguished professorships to 56 and named professors to 33. In addition to the honorary title, these professors generally receive additional financial support to help them expand their efforts at Purdue.

Basil S. Turner, for whom the engineering professorship is named, graduated from Purdue in 1930 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. A second professorship in the Krannert School of Management also bears his name. Turner, who died in 1997, founded Purdue's Turner Lab of Electroceramics, which provides facilities for basic and applied research on the electrical behavior of materials. He received an honorary doctorate from Purdue in 1965. He served as president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of CTS Corp., formerly Chicago Telephone Sky Co. Under his direction the company became a major international manufacturer of electronic components.

The Bircks, who funded Smith's professorship, live in Hinsdale, Ill. Michael Birck is a 1960 Purdue alumnus and member of the university's board of trustees. The Bircks also donated $30 million for the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue's Discovery Park. The Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex is named for the couple in recognition of their $3 million donation that helped support major improvements on the two 18-hole courses and practice area. This is the Bircks' second named professorship in electrical and computer engineering.

The trustees also approved associate's and bachelor's degree programs in computer graphics technology at the Calumet campus.

The program offers courses that prepare students for the technical graphics technology field and to pursue advanced study toward a Purdue master's degree, said Calumet Chancellor Howard Cohen.

"The development of this new program reflects the needs of northwest Indiana and Chicago-area business and organizations," Cohen said. "The program's curriculum reflects the skill development and knowledge base required by employers in this area. Students enrolled in the program will work in computer labs, developing their graphic skills, techniques, concepts and management ability through individual and team-based projects."

In addition, the names of three departments at Calumet were changed. The changes are construction technology to construction management and engineering technologies, electrical engineering technology to electrical and computer engineering technology, and information systems and computer programming to computer information systems and informational technology.

The board also changed the name of the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Department of Computer Technology to the Department of Computer and Information Technology, as well as Purdue North Central's Department of Electrical Engineering Technology to Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology.

In other business, the board awarded a posthumous bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering to Matthew Michael Slone, Westerville, Ohio, who completed 89 percent of the degree requirements before his death. Slone died on Feb. 25 at age 22. He had a grade point average of 3.74 and had been named to the dean's list every semester since his freshman year in 1999.

A posthumous bachelor's degree in social studies teaching was awarded to Erica Smith, Highland, Ind., who was a semester away from graduating at Purdue Calumet. Smith, 29, died on Feb. 7.

Writer: Amy Patterson-Neubert, (765) 494-9723,

Sources: Sally Frost Mason, (765) 494-9709,

Douglas Powell, (765) 494-2941,

Mark Smith, (765) 494-3539,

Timothy Sands (765) 496-6105,

Wesley Lukoshus, assistant vice chancellor for advancement at Purdue Calumet, (219) 989-2217,

Carol Connelly, director of media and communication services at Purdue Calumet, (219) 785-5267,

Rich Schneider, director of media relations at Indiana University-Purdue University, (317) 278-4564,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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