Kevin Cole retires after 32 years of service

Kevin Cole retires after 32 years of service

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  • A collection of tie clips worn by Kevin Cole, professor of mechanical and materials engineering.
    A collection of tie clips worn by Kevin Cole, professor of mechanical and materials engineering.

Kevin Cole, professor of mechanical and materials engineering.
Kevin Cole, professor of mechanical and materials engineering.

Kevin Cole, professor of mechanical and materials engineering, is retiring from the College of Engineering after 32 years of service. He joined the faculty in the department of mechanical engineering in 1988 and immediately began establishing a rapport with students.

Cole has been recognized often for his teaching, including the 1994 Henry Y. Kleinkauf Family Distinguished New Faculty Teaching Award – Assistant Professor, the 2004 Holling Family Distinguished Senior Faculty Teaching Award, the 2013 Holling Family Teaching/Advising/Mentoring Award (Lincoln), the 2015 Holling Family Distinguished Engineering Educator Award and the 2017 Holling Family Distinguished Teaching Award for Innovative Use of Instructional Technology. Additionally, Cole has been recognized five times with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Parents Association Parents’ Recognition Award.

Among the classes Cole taught included a special topics class that provides research experience to undergraduate students, building on his experiences during his undergraduate education and the advice and examples of his mentors.

Known for his collection of handmade tie clips, Cole never wore the same clip on consecutive days – something of which his students took notice.

“One semester, I found an extra page stapled to one student’s final examination paper,” Cole said. “It was a publication-quality pie chart showing the fraction of time I had worn each tie clip throughout the semester. This pie chart is a cherished memento of my teaching career.”

Cole had a long research relationship with NASA and utilized that to establish the Aerospace Club. The NASA education funding the group received allows undergraduate students to build devices and vehicles – including rockets, airplanes and simulated lunar mining robots – and take them to national competitions.

He has also conducted research for Sandia National Laboratories, the Army Research Office and the National Science Foundation (NSF), as well as for private industry, with heat transfer theory as a primary area of research interest.

Cole cites among the most satisfying aspect of his research career the collaborations that produced a book (two editions) on heat conduction and a web site (Exact Analytical Conduction Toolbox, which was funded by NSF). Recently, he has applied his methods to thermal problems in manufacturing including 3D printing.

Cole is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and is a registered professional engineer.



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