September 29, 2006





It was Leo Tolstoy, the Russian writer, who said that “to meet, to know, to love and then to part is a sad fate that afflicts many a human heart.”  That seems to be pretty much what happened to many of us who were among the almost 500 delegates from the iNEER Network flocking to the tropical island of Puerto Rico for ICEE-2006, the 17th meeting of the Network.


We came to Puerto Rico, we fell in love with the land, the people, the culture and the cuisine, and soon we had to say “goodbye,” but we were not sad.  For, we will be back and we will share memories and experiences at the next stops for the iNEER Network, and that means in Coimbra, Portugal and Melbourne, Australia, both in 2007! 


Held under mostly clear blue skies during July 24-28, 2006, ICEE-2006 took place at the Condado Plaza Hotel and Resort in San Juan, on the northern coast of Puerto Rico, the beautiful tropical island lapped by the clear blue waters of the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea.  With participants from 37 countries, the conference program was organized around the theme: “Education, Research and Development: Fostering Economic Growth.” 


The conference host was the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez (UPRM).  Serving as General Chair was Prof. Jorge Velez-Arocho, the Chancellor of UPRM.  Professor Ramon Vasquez, Dean of the College of Engineering, was Conference Chair.  Program Co-Chairs were Professors Sandra Cruz-Pol and Lueny Morell, Anand Sharma and O. Marcelo Suarez.  Professor Dan Budny served as Technical Committee Co-Chair. 


Close to 400 papers were presented in 134 technical sessions.  These fell under the broad areas of accreditation and assessment; academic and administration issues; enhancing learning and the undergraduate experience; technology for teaching and learning; diversity issues and women and minorities in engineering and technology; engineering practice trends and issues; curriculum design and innovation; partnerships for success; and integrating research and education.


Delegates were treated to food accentuated with adobo and sofrito, the herbs that give Puerto Rican cuisine its distinct color and taste.  When not attending sessions, delegates had an opportunity to tour the world famous rain forest or relax at one of the lovely beaches nearby.  The poolside dinner on Monday night was followed by traditional dances performed by dances adorned with colorful island costumes.  Delegates joined in the dancing and stayed up late.         


It was an unforgettable experience. 


Photo Galleries


A photo gallery ( for the conference has been posted at the iNEER website.  Additional photos are available at the conference website:


Opening Plenary


Welcoming the participants in a speech given at the opening plenary was Prof. Tomas Cermak, Rector of VSB-Technical University of Ostrava and Chair of the iNEER Board.  Professor Velez-Arocho delivered the opening remarks.  He was followed by the Hon. Gabriel Alcaraz, Secretary of Transportation and Public Works of the Government of Puerto Rico; Antonio Garcia Padillo, Esq., President of the University of Puerto Rico System; Prof. Ramon Vasquez, Dean of the College of Engineering, UPRM; and Win Aung, Secretary-General of iNEER.     


Keynote Speakers


Dr. Arden Bement, Director of the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia, U.S.A., delivered the Luncheon Remarks on Monday, July 24:


Conference keynoters include Dr. Trevor Newsom, Director of Research and Regional Sciences, Ireland's Queens University; Dr. Lily Chan, Director, Industry and Technology Relations Office, National University of Singapore; Dr. Alejandro Jofré, Director, Center of Mathematical Modeling, Universidad de Chile; and Hon. Jorge Silva Puras, Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce, Government of Puerto Rico.  Following their remarks, they participated in a panel discussion on “Partnerships for Economic Development: the Role of Universities, Governments and the Private Sector.”


Dr. Wayne Johnson, Vice President, HP University Relations Worldwide, presented the last keynote speech on July 27, 2006:


Technical sessions highlighting education innovations of the NSF Engineering Research Centers


The conference program included two special sessions aimed at disseminating information on recent innovations emanating from the NSF Engineering Research Centers, a flagship program that supports research focused on spawning whole new industries or radically transform the product lines, processing technologies, or service delivery methodologies of current industries.  


Presented on Tuesday, July 25, these sessions were entitled “How People Learn I” and “How People Learn II.”


Letters of Felicitations


Leading representatives of several institutions presented Chancellor Velez-Arocho with letters of felicitations during the conference banquet, held in the evening on Tuesday, July 25 at the San Juan Museum in Old San Juan.  




The conference banquet Tuesday night closed with the presentation of awards ( to the following individuals:


Leadership Award:  Wayne Johnson, Vice President, HP University Relations Worldwide


Achievement Award:  Daniel Hirleman, the William E. and Florence E. Perry Head of the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University


Achievement Award:  Jerzy Moscinski is the Rector’s representative for international collaboration at the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice, Poland                       


Recognition Award:  Richard Spontak, Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Department of Materials Science and Engineering, North Carolina State University


Recognition Award:  P. K. Raju and Chetan S. Sankar, the Thomas Walter Professors, Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Management, Auburn University


iNEER Award:  Jorge Velez-Arocho, Chancellor, UPRM


Meritorious Service Award: Ramon Vasquez, Sandra Cruz-Pol, Anand Sharma, College of Engineering, UPRM; Lueny Morell, Director, University Relations – Latin America, Hewlett-Packard Company; Dan Budny, University of Pittsburgh


Award citations have been posted on the iNEER website through the link given above.


Leadership Council Meeting


The newly formed Leadership Council of iNEER met on Tuesday, July 25, from 10 AM – 12 Noon.  The meeting was attended by 23 leaders of engineering education and research Dr. Arden Bement, Director of the National Science Foundation, USA. 


The meeting was opened by David Chang, Chancellor of Polytechnic University of New York and Interim Co-Chair of the Council.  At the beginning of the meeting, Win Aung, Secretary-General of iNEER, explained the rationale to the formation of the Council by the iNEER Board, and its charge to the Council.  He reiterated the Board’s vision to see the Council evolve into a platform that enables the sharing of information and the establishment of cooperative exchanges by leaders of engineering education and research.  He then emphasized the specific charge to the Council, namely, to plan and execute programs and activities so as to provide a platform for networking among leaders of universities and colleges, and senior representatives of industry and government from around the world.  He thanked the Interim Co-Chairs Professor David Chang and Professor Wojciech Zielinski, Rector of Silesian University of Technology for their leadership in moving forward the establishment of the Council.  He then called for election of permanent co-chairs, and those in attendance unanimously voted to elect the two Interim Co-Chairs to serve two-year, renewal terms as Co-Chairs.


Following his election as Co-Chair, David Chang then outlined his vision for the Council, emphasizing his interest to see the Council develop a set of realistic, achievable action items for implementation in the next few years.  One of the topics that attracted the interest of those in attendance was the development of a “cyberinfrastructure for global engineering education.”  Here, there is a potential for tie-in withg related ongoing work sponsored by Hewlett-Packard Company.  It was agreed by those in attendance that an action plan should be developed for discussion prior to the next iNEER conference, ICEE-2007, in Coimbra, Portugal.


Council meetings are being developed by the c-chairs with the assistance of the iNEER Secretary-General.


Distribution of “Innovations 2006”


The iNEER Special Volume for 2006, “Innovations 2006,” ( was published on July 15, 2006.  Copies of the hardcopy book were distributed at the conference to participants and invited guests. 


The sixth book in the iNEER Innovations Series, “Innovations 2006” includes 53 chapters, written by 130 experts from 20 countries.  Each article passed through a rigorous peer review process that involves 298 reviewers from 41 countries.  Topics covered in the chapters include new curricular materials that address the needs of the 21st Century; the adaptation of e-learning and Internet technologies in teaching and learning; collaborative and experiential learning; inculcating students with a global cultural and societal perspective; multidisciplinary design and integration; and assessment, accreditation and quality assurance. 


A general invitation for articles for the next iNEER Special Volume, “Innovations 2007,” ( have been issued and posted along with paper guidelines.  ICEE-2006 authors are welcome to submit articles, as well as inform their colleagues to submit articles.