Cal Poly honored faculty and staff who received a record $32 million in grants and whose research resulted in five patents for the university in the 2015-16 academic year.
The patented inventions include an automotive air-conditioning system, an in-wall air-filtration system, CubeSats (or small satellites that launch as secondary payloads), a computer-implemented process to allow the visually impaired to transform touch into an audio response, and an environmentally benign packing design.
“I just want to say how proud I am of the work that you are all doing,” Dean Wendt, dean of research in the Office of Research and Economic Development, told about 80 faculty and staff members gathered at the annual reception held in the fall. “We are celebrating an unprecedented year of externally funded research activity at the university.”
Grant funding for research projects was up 25 percent over last year’s $26 million, and “ranks as the highest amount of external funding on record at Cal Poly,” Wendt said.
“Let me put that number in context for you: The annual base budget for the College of Science and Mathematics is around $37 million, and it includes all the salaries and wages and operating budgets for the college,” he said. “The $32 million is a significant contribution you are making to our institution and to the education of our students.”
There are other benefits to campus research, Wendt said. The grants contributed to more than $250,000 in tuition, fees and scholarships for students; funded more than $650,000 in lab equipment in the university’s six colleges; supported the wages of 58 Cal Poly Corporation employees; and paid $1.8 million in wages to more than 800 student researchers.
President Jeffrey D. Armstrong praised the faculty, who in addition to their teaching duties also apply for and oversee the research, and the staff of the Sponsored Programs and Grants Development offices who administer the more than 500 grants.
“You are impacting lives. You are helping students succeed,” he told the group. “And your careers are just blossoming and growing. It’s very, very exciting.”
Five university centers that each received more than $1 million and those who manage them were singled out: Stuart Styles and Charles Burt of the Irrigation Training and Research Center; John Keller and Chance Hoellworth of the Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME); Sam Blakeslee and Christine Robertson of the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy; Wendt of the Center for Coastal Marine Sciences; and Suzanne Phelan of the Center for Solutions Through Research in Diet and Exercise (STRIDE).
In addition, four individuals who secured a combined $50 million in grant funding over their Cal Poly careers were honored. Styles and Burt, director and chairman of the board respectively for Cal Poly’s Irrigation Training and Research Center, each has procured more than $20 million in external funding. Blakeslee, IATPP director, and Trevor Cardinal, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and director of the Regenerative Medicine Program, each has procured $5 million in grant funding.
The patent holders from the 2015-16 academic year are:
— Jay Singh and former student Evan Cernokus, patent for “System, Method and Apparatus for Making and Using Flex Column Void-Based Packing Materials.” Their system for forming space-consuming, shock-absorbing packing materials uses a three-sided flex-column to eliminate the need for non-recyclable polystyrene packing peanuts and better protect shipped items saving time and money in a manner that is also easier on the environment.
— Patrick Lemieux, patent for “Air-Cycle Environmental Control Systems and Methods for Automotive Applications.” This air-cycle air-conditioning invention uses an automotive turbocharger as the system core to maximize cooling while minimizing weight and space, as well as impacts on engine performance.
— Jordi Puig-Suari and Austin Williams of aerospace engineering, patent for “CubeSat Systems, Method and Apparatus.” These nano-satellites piggyback on the launches of larger satellites. The basic CubeSat unit is a box about 4 inches square; larger CubeSats are multiples of that unit.
— Dennis Fantin and Art MacCarley, patent for “Transforming a Tactually Selected User Input into an Audio Output.” Fantin, blind since age 12, and MacCarley developed a computer-implemented process to assist the visually impaired, transforming the touch of a selected Braille key into an analog audio signal output as human speech with an electro-acoustic transducer.
— Carmen Trudell and student Natacha Schnider, patent for “System and Method for Air Filtration Via Cyclone Separators Enclosed Within Exterior Walls.” The invention uses cyclone separators mounted within walls to purify the air in buildings.
Wendt recognized the individuals who had the highest grant funding totals in their colleges:
— Orfalea College of Business: Stephen Hamilton, economics.
— College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences: Stuart Styles, bioresource and agricultural engineering.
— College of Architecture and Environmental Design: Cornelius Nuworsoo, city and regional planning.
— College of Engineering: Trevor Cardinal.
— College of Liberal Arts: Patrick Lin, philosophy.
— College of Science and Mathematics: Stan Yoshinobu, mathematics.
Accounting Faculty Updates
Area Welcomes New Faculty
The Accounting Area welcomed two outstanding new faculty, Adam Bordeman and Kim Westermann, for the 2015-16 academic year.
Dr. Adam Bordeman considers the Learn by Doing philosophy essential to the study of accounting, and enjoys teaching at all levels of the college. He brings his work experience as both an auditor and an accountant in private industry into his teaching. This approach earned him the Leeds School of Business Ph.D. Teaching Award during his doctoral studies. His research and teaching focuses on financial accounting and reporting. Specifically, he values the role that accounting plays in defining relationships between firms. Dr. Bordeman received his B.S. and M.S.A. from Marquette University and his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado.
Dr. Kim Westermann graduated from Cal Poly with a Bachelor of Science in accounting in 2000. She worked for Ernst & Young in San Jose, Calif. as an audit senior before relocating to New York City, taking a job with PricewaterhouseCoopers, ending her career in public accounting as a full time instructor in PwC’s Learning and Education division. In 2006, she entered the inaugural cohort of the Bentley University Ph.D. program and was selected as the Henry E. Rauch Doctoral Fellow recipient. After graduating in 2011, she spent four years as an assistant professor in Miami at Florida International University. Dr. Westermann is interested in a variety of qualitative methods and conducts research examining auditor perspectives within their social context. Her in-process research is rooted within sociology and organizational behavior literatures, examining both audit practitioners and clients about their perspectives on current issues in auditing.
Professor Steve Mintz Receives Accounting Exemplar Award
The American Accounting Association recently honored Cal Poly Professor Steven Mintz with the Accounting Exemplar Award in the public interest section. The award is given annually to accounting educators and practitioners who have made notable contributions to professionalism and ethics in accounting.
With this honor, Cal Poly becomes the only educational institution to have two faculty members receive the Accounting Exemplar Award. Cal Poly accounting Professor Mary Beth Armstrong received the award in 2009. Previous award winners also include Cynthia Cooper, the whistleblower who exposed $3.8 billion in fraud at WorldCom.
“I’m thrilled that Steven’s thought-leadership has been recognized once again,” said Orfalea College of Business Dean Scott Dawson. “Having seasoned professionals like him in the classroom helps prepare career-ready graduates and affirms our accounting program’s powerful reputation.”
A veteran professor and dean in the California State University system, Mintz joined Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business in 2006. More than 40 colleges and universities have adopted his textbook, Accounting Ethics. He also writes blogs on ethics issues in business and society (ethicssage.com) and on workplace ethics (workplaceethicsadvice.com).
Professor Li Dang Ventures to China
Professor Li Dang is on sabbatical for 2015-16 academic year as a visiting faculty member at Yanshan University in Qinhuangdao, China, a coastal city about 190 miles east of Bejing. The university is very similar to Cal Poly in that it is a comprehensive polytechnic school, but with a student population of about 38,000. Professor Dang is currently working with graduate accounting students to help them develop empirical accounting research. She also is working with a team of Chinese researchers on a handful of new projects.
Dang says she is happy to be spending a year in her home country, and that she is enjoying spending her free time at the beautiful beaches in Qinhuangdao.
MSA Tax Program Announces Rodney Mock as Director
Cal Poly’s Master of Science in Accountancy with a specialization in taxation (MSA Tax) program has selected Rodney Mock as its director.
The program, a one-year intensive tax degree that prepares its graduates for a career in federal, state or local taxation, has helped bolster Cal Poly’s position as a top recruiting school for the Big Four accounting firms. “With this experience, many of my students stay in public accounting and ascend to top management-level positions very quickly,” says Mock.
In addition to the standard degree curriculum, Mock will also be welcoming more than 40 industry professionals into the classroom as a part of the program’s Graduate Tax Speaker Series, which gives students a chance to network with and learn from innovative professionals in the field.
For more information, or to get involved with the MSA Tax program or Graduate Tax Speaker Series, contact Rodney Mock at firstname.lastname@example.org.