Fontana Flyer | MSE & WE Alumni Newsletter

Chair's message

Settling in after a sabbatical in Germany

Michael Mills Humboldt sabbatical 2023
Mills visiting the Humboldt Forum Museum in Berlin

I had the opportunity to pause my MSE Chair duties and spend the autumn semester on sabbatical at the Ruhr University in Bochum (RUB), Germany. This time away was enabled by the Alexander von Humboldt Award I received in 2018. I used this time to strengthen research interactions in superalloys and shape memory alloys with groups at the RUB and at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. I also had the honor of presenting OSU research at the Max Plank Institute for Metals in Dusseldorf and the Fraunhofer Institute in Karlsruhe. It was exciting to interact with researchers at these world-class institutions, and to share the exciting developments in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Ohio State.

I would like to thank Wei Zhang, Associate Chair of the Department, for assuming the role of chair while I was on sabbatical. Wei did a fantastic job overseeing day-to-day business and assisting with the advancement of large-scale projects while maintaining his role as a welding engineering professor.  A major accomplishment during the autumn semester was the successful ABET review and re-accreditation of both our welding engineering (WE) and materials science and engineering (MSE) programs.  I am thankful to many faculty and staff that have continually helped implement improvement strategies which are benefitting our students.

I am also happy to report that undergraduate enrollment in both our welding engineering (WE) and materials science and engineering (MSE) programs are strongly trending upwards after experiencing declines since 2019, while graduate enrollments in both programs remain strong.  Vigorous recruitment efforts involving staff, faculty, and current students have resulted in these improvements.  This success reaffirms that prospective students are won-over to MSE and WE majors provided they have the opportunity to learn about these areas of study, and the critical value our students provide in meeting so many future challenges.  Additional Open House events for both programs have been added where high school, regional college, and OSU students (and their families) are welcomed on campus to learn more about MSE and WE.  Both WE and MSE now also offer direct-to-major admittance to undergraduates who meet to entrance requirements for the College of Engineering, eliminating wait times and uncertainty in pursuing their degrees. We are also pursuing other changes with the help of the College that will accelerate our positive enrollment trends.  Finally, our alumni continue to endorse the program through word of mouth, networking with students, and generous financial support.

I hope that you enjoy the stories in this issue and continue sharing your updates with us and your fellow alumni. 

Michael Mills
Taine G. McDougal Professor

Chair, Department of Materials Science and Engineering




Categories: AlumniFontana Flyer


Libby Culley
Senior Communications Specialist
Department of Materials Science and Engineering