UTC's Dr. Jim Henry Selected For National Engineering Award

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
 Dr. Jim Henry and Dr. Neslihan Alp, interim dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science
Dr. Jim Henry and Dr. Neslihan Alp, interim dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science

When Dr. Jim Henry was 10 years into his tenure at UTC, he decided to run a remote chemical engineering lab, back when the word “Internet” was hardly a commonly-used word.

Beginning in 1990, Dr. Henry began computerizing the connections to his chemical engineering lab and in 1994, he began to wonder if he could connect the computers to the Internet. At a conference in Anaheim, California, Dr. Henry asked colleagues from around the country for input, but no one knew a way to make it happen. He even posted an invitation to work on a solution on a bulletin board, but he got no takers.

When he returned to Chattanooga, he researched the Internet and explored a way to establish communication with computers. It took him about four months to figure out a way to have one of his computers communicate with the Internet. He was among the first in the world to make the connection, so that his web-interface could reach students from schools around the world.

To honor his “career-long emphasis of teaching and using computer methods in chemical engineering” and his “innovation and commitment to developing remotely operated laboratory equipment at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga,” Dr. Henry received the CACHE Award sponsored by the CACHE Corporation, presented by the Chemical Engineering Division American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) “in recognition for his contributions to the use of computers in computing in Chemical Engineering education.”

Dr. Henry, professor emeritus in UTC Chemical Engineering, has collaborated with institutions from Mexico, Germany, Armenia, Indonesia, Romania, Australia, as well as numerous locations in the United States.

Dr. Oleg Gasparyan, a professor in Armenia, has maintained a professional relationship with Henry for many years. He wrote a letter of support to the ASEE on behalf of Henry.

“It is interesting that in addition to operating the physical equipment located at UTC, WEB users are able to listen to the sounds of the equipment (motors and valves) while they operate and even view the experiments with live RealVideo streaming. It gives the user a full sense of presence at the real (not virtual) laboratory,” Dr. Gasparyan said in the letter.

One of the most productive relationships Henry established was with a colleague at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The colleague’s classes were overflowing, and he needed his students to have access to more equipment.

“Half of his students have run experiments at UTC remotely, and half run them on his campus in New England,” Dr. Henry explained. “That’s been going on for nearly a decade.”

No one is happier for Dr. Henry to receive the award than Dr. Neslihan Alp, interim dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Dr. Henry was Dr. Alp’s mentor when she arrived at UTC. For six years, she had the benefit of working with an engineering colleague who was not in her department.

“He guided me and prepared me so that I could attain tenure,” Dr. Alp explained. “We met on a regular basis—he was open, friendly, he had a sense of humor—it was clear to me why his students loved him. He is the kind of faculty member who has a vision. He enjoys learning, he likes to try new methods and techniques. This award honors an extremely knowledgeable man who is a great asset to the College and UTC. Even though he is retired, he continues to help and support us at UTC.”

Dr. Bryan Ennis agrees. Dr. Ennis, UTC Department of Civil and Chemical Engineering faculty, has enjoyed working with Dr. Henry.

“Dr. Henry’s pioneering work continues through National Science Foundation (NSF) and other proposals being submitted by UTC engineering and computer science faculty, aimed at deploying the remote lab experience to the global community and developing countries,” Dr. Ennis said. “The objective of this work is to develop effective sandboxes where students and researchers might interactively conduct real-time single and collaborative experiments.”

Chattanooga State And UTC Launch Joint Marketing Campaign

Chattanooga residents have a new option to earn college degrees. Thanks to a new dual admission partnership, students can start by earning an associate’s degree at Chattanooga State Community College, and then finish at UTC with a bachelor’s degree.   The partnership is being marked by a new level of cooperation between UTC and Chattanooga State with the launch of the first ... (click for more)

GPS Student Lea Mulligan Climbs High

A senior member of the GPS Climbing team, Lea Mulligan placed second in her category this past weekend in the second leg of the Triple Crown Bouldering series.  The outdoor climbing competition, which has been in operation for about 15 years, takes place at Hound Ears in Boone, N.C.; Stone Fort in Chattanooga, and Horse Pens 40 in Alabama. Lea’s second place accomplishment ... (click for more)

2 Witnesses To A Murder Refuse To Testify At Jury Trial

Two men who prosecutors say witnessed a murder in Hixson on Jan. 31, 2014, on Wednesday refused to tell their story to a jury. Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman ordered Andrew Biro and Jacob Tyler "T.Y." Keel to answer questions from prosecutor Lance Pope, but they both refused. Biro had said during testimony in General Sessions Court that Christopher Levi Parker threatened ... (click for more)

PETA And Humane Educational Society Offer Reward For Torture-Killing Of Dog After Envelope Mailed From Chattanooga

An envelope postmarked from Chattanooga and containing a photo of a dog strung between two trees arrived at PETA's office in Virginia Tuesday, along with the severed ear of a dog. PETA members are offering a reward of $5,000-and the Humane Educational Society of Chattanooga has added another $1,000-for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible ... (click for more)

Accountability Doesn't Have To Be A Bad Word

Am I making a difference? Isn’t that the basic question we all ask ourselves, and seek to demonstrate to others?  Ronald Reagan said:  “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.”   We would argue teachers do not have that problem either.    Educators make a huge difference ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘The Right To Bear Arms’

As the worldwide debut of the much-anticipated “Hacksaw Ridge” is set for next weekend, it didn’t take long for the anti-gun fanatics to decry “a war movie.” Mel Gibson, the director of the film that focuses on a conscientious objector Desmond Doss who refused to bear a weapon but saved an estimated 75 lives, was asked about America’s gun problem as he toured to promote the film. ... (click for more)