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College Welcomes New Faculty Members

This fall, the College of Engineering welcomes two new faculty members and one former faculty member. The new members are Dr. Wei Fan of the Chemical Engineering Department and Dr. Frank C. Sup of the Mechanical Engineering Department. We are also happy to welcome back a former longtime member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE), Dr. William J. Leonard, who served variously as a research associate, senior research associate, lecturer, research assistant professor, and research associate professor in the department from 1988 to 2009.

Dr. Fan comes to UMass Amherst from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota, where he has been as postdoctoral researcher since 2007. He is a technical specialist in X-ray diffraction and scattering. “My research focuses on the rational synthesis of nonporous materials for the catalysis of biorefinery and drug delivery carriers,” he explains, “with engineering their pore structure and size, surface properties, and active sites, based on the comprehensive understanding of their crystallization mechanism.” He earned his B.S. at the University of Science and Technology of China, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in the Department of Chemical System Engineering at the University of Tokyo.

Dr. Sup spent the last year as a postdoctoral research assistant at Vanderbilt University developing the next generation of lower limb prostheses with powered knee and ankle joints. “Hardware focuses on a compact, modular, and quiet mechanical drive system as well as a distributed electronic system that incorporates a microcontroller and custom servo amplifiers,” he explains. “Controller development focuses on extending the capabilities of the device to accommodate balance and stumble recovery, variable speed walking, slopes, stairs, and recognizing the transitions between activities.” He earned his doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt in 2009.

Dr. Leonard spent the past year as an associate professor at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. His research interests include rate of learning models, mastering circuit analysis, assessing assessment, representations in instruction and problem solving, and in-service teacher development. Among other awards, he won the 2009 IEEE/ASEE Frontiers in Education Conference Benjamin J. Dasher Award for the best paper of 2008, “Mastering Circuit Analysis: An innovative approach to a fundamental sequence.” He also won the 2009 MERLOT Award for Exemplary Online Learning Resources and the 2009 College of Engineering Outstanding Teacher Award. He earned his Ph.D. from the UMass Amherst Department of Physics in 1988. (August 2010)