Philadelphia University Names Prominent Educator Matthew Traum, Ph.D., Director of Engineering Programs

PhotoMatthew Traum, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Milwaukee School of Engineering, a top 10 nationally ranked undergraduate engineering university, will join Philadelphia University Aug. 1 as director of engineering programs.

“As an engineer, I am pleased to welcome the highly qualified and experienced Dr. Traum as director of PhilaU engineering programs,” said Ron Kander, executive dean of the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce. “His experience leading a growing program and expanding industry engagement projects fits perfectly with our goals at Philadelphia University. I look forward to partnering with him as he collaboratively develops a vision and mission for the growth of our exciting engineering programs.”

Traum has experience teaching across undergraduate and graduate curricula. At the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Traum founded and advised Sigma Sigma Pi, the nation’s first energy engineering honor society. Before joining the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Traum taught at the rank of assistant professor at the University of North Texas, where he was a founding professor in the department of mechanical and energy engineering.

At Philadelphia University, he will lead both graduate and undergraduate engineering and mechanical engineering programs, which this year and last have had entering enrollments of more than 40 students for the first time, Kander said. Undergraduate engineering enrollment for 2014-15 will be about 125 students, and is expected to grow to 200 students within five years.

“Matthew’s administrative, leadership and teaching skills, as well as his experience founding and accrediting a new engineering program, make him an exceptional fit for Philadelphia University,” said Mike Leonard, academic dean of the School of Design and Engineering. “One of his research foci is heat- and mass-transport through textiles, connecting him well with our historic strength in textiles and textile engineering. Matthew is a well-regarded teacher-scholar, committed to the principles of Nexus Learning in engineering education.”

Traum holds bachelor’s degrees in aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering, both from the University of California, Irvine. He received his master’s in mechanical engineering and his doctorate in mechanical engineering with a minor in nanotechnology and microtechnology fabrication and manufacturing from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Traum is an active researcher and collaborator with an impressive track record of sponsored research receiving nearly $800,000 in competitive grants, prizes, fellowships and venture capital. Traum frequently engages and mentors students through his ambitious research agenda. His work has translated into 36 peer reviewed journal or conference papers, with 24 unique student co-author colleagues.

“By placing its engineering program within the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce, Philadelphia University progressively recognizes that these fields are strongly interconnected,” Traum said. “Eliminating conventional disciplinary silos through this innovative curriculum prepares students for modern engineering practice, which is increasingly cross-disciplinary. My vision for the engineering programs is to harness the expertise of the faculty and the energy of the students to demonstrate to the community that we are a new breed of engineers, and we are eager to collaborate.”

In addition to the B.S.E. in engineering and mechanical engineering, Philadelphia University offers the M.S. and Ph.D. in textile engineering, in which enrollments also are projected to almost double in the next few years.

“Regionally and nationally, the strategy for economic growth is in the STEM fields–science, technology, engineering and math—and we need engineering talent for that to happen,” Kander said. “Educating the next generation of highly and skilled and talented engineers is a critical national need that Philadelphia University is addressing.”

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