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The China Experience Offers Faculty Exchange and Enrichment

June 19, 2013

Story by Marianne Messina, Web Manager

              International Facult
  International Faculty Flavor: Electrical and computer engineering professors Jianjian Song (left) and Xiaoyan Mu (middle) are from China, while Yang Jin is a visiting scholar this year from China’s Hubei University of Automotive Technology. (Photo by Shawn Spence).

When China’s Hubei University of Automotive Technology offered Yang Jin, PhD, the opportunity to expand her educational horizons anywhere in America, she chose to become a Rose-Hulman Visiting Scholar and lending her technical expertise to the institute’s EcoCAR2 team.

It has been a win-win situation all around. After all, Jin teaches automotive theory, mechanical vibration, and LabVIEW programming in Hubei’s Department of Automotive Engineering. Her aptitude for model-based software is being utilized as a co-advisor for the EcoCAR2 team’s Hardware-in-the-Loop controls. This software allows for virtual testing of component parts, saving the time and cost of testing with real components.

“Professor Jin brings perspectives and experience in automotive software development that’s invaluable to our EcoCAR2 team members,” says mechanical engineering professor Zac Chambers, director of the institute’s advanced transportation program.

Jin is also benefitting from her time on campus. She will be taking home invaluable lessons from attending classes taught by Rose-Hulman’s award-winning faculty members. “The teaching here is top-level and very engaging. I can see why you’re the best in undergraduate education,” she says.

Lessons learned from a year’s sabbatical at Delphi’s advanced engineering group in Shanghai, China, has helped electrical and computer engineering (ECE) professor Xiaoyan Mu, PhD, bring leading-edge automotive technology lessons to her classes. She got first-hand experience with pattern recognition technology for advanced driver assistance, as Delphi engineers develop systems that recognize and take corrective action in potentially hazardous driving situations.

Professor Mu, a graduate of China’s Northeastern University, has brought back challenging, industry-based projects that have Rose-Hulman students exploring technology that might be a component in future automobiles.

“Our students have really great ideas that (Delphi) engineers don’t think about,” she says.

Meanwhile, Rose-Hulman is developing educational partnerships with several Chinese institutions. Students from Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) have spent the past two summers on campus taking a high-speed digital design course and serving as mentors for the Operation Catapult program for American high school students.

“Our classes are eye-opening to Chinese students. They’re used to just memorizing all the facts,” says program coordinator Jianjian Song, PhD, an ECE professor and HUST graduate. It doesn’t take long for the Chinese students to appreciate Rose-Hulman’s project-based learning style. “They become very innovative,” he states.

Song and mechanical engineering professor Patsy Brackin, PhD, have visited HUST to establish an Operation Catapult-like program, and ECE professor Mark Yoder, PhD, has taught one semester at the Chinese institution.