MechSE COVID-19 Update to Alumni

Anthony JacobiDear MechSE Alumni,

Greetings from Urbana-Champaign! I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy in this unsettling time. We also hope your diverse careers and professions are adapting during this dynamic business environment. I am writing to provide an update about department activities during the COVID-19 pandemic and stay at home order. As you may know, all instruction and events were moved online for the remainder of the spring semester and this will be the case for the summer session as well. I anticipate a formal decision from campus leadership by the middle of June regarding the delivery of fall instruction.

MechSE has adjusted to the many changes remarkably well. All students, staff, and faculty members are working, learning, and teaching remotely. Some essential research faculty and staff are working on campus, following every precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition to teaching, MechSE faculty are responding to the crisis by applying their expertise to several projects designed to provide critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and ventilators for health care professionals. Updated stories on our department’s battle against COVID-19 can be found at https://mechanical.illinois.edu/news-events.

We are not ignoring the reality of this unprecedented situation, and that reality has us preparing for a hybrid return to campus with rotating on-campus work schedules to maximize social distancing. We are also running stress test exercises to prepare for a possible five, ten, or fifteen percent reduction in next year’s budget. I will elaborate on our successes and challenges and ‘return to normal’ in future communications.

Amidst all this, I also have some great news to share. In the 2021 graduate school rankings from U.S. News and World Report, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign moved up to No. 5 in mechanical engineering! In January, they ranked Illinois No. 3 in online graduate education for mechanical engineering. We are also incredibly proud of our undergraduate program, which continues to be ranked No. 6. Thank you for your impact and for helping make our department great!

If you have any questions, please contact Alec Verone, Assistant Director of Corporate & Alumni Relations, via email at averone2@illinois.edu or by phone at (217) 265-5251. Thank you again for your continued support of our students, staff, and faculty.

Anthony Jacobi
Department Head