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This is the first in a series of Russ College faculty profiles, in celebration of the Russ College's 75th anniversary (1935-2010.)
Dale Masel would rather be a partner in his students' learning process, rather than just a teacher behind a lecture podium.
"I'd like for students to see me as a colleague and not an opponent. Students and I are both working toward the same goal: for them to learn skills that are going to be useful in the future," explains Masel, an industrial and systems engineering associate professor who joined the Russ College of Engineering and Technology since 1998.
Masel took his student-oriented approach outside the classroom in 2004 when he was named faculty advisor to the Russ College's Engineering Ambassadors. The ambassadors are a select group of engineering students that aid in the promotion of the Russ College by recruiting students; reaching out to alumni, parents, friends, corporations, and foundations; and representing each department within the College. Continuing the success of the program became one of Masel's most treasured accomplishments -- although he's quick to merit the success of the program to the students serving as ambassadors.
"The Russ College and Ohio University have increased the number of recruiting events over the past several years, but every year we have a group of outstanding students who rise to the challenge to support the College's activities and share their pride about their college," he says.
A.J. Hendricks, Engineering Ambassador president for 2008-2009, noticed the strong relationship Masel has with students right away.
"The mutual trust he and other members of the Ambassadors shared was something you don't always receive from a professor," he explained. Hendricks went on to say that it becomes apparent when getting know Masel that he is genuinely interested in not only the betterment of Ohio University and the Russ College, but every student and person he comes in contact with.
But the students aren't the only aspect of the College Masel enjoys – he says the size of the Russ College is another of its best qualities
"We are large enough that there are many of the resources and opportunities that you would have at a larger school. However, we're small enough that most of our activities can be housed in two buildings," he said. "I think that this helps provide a greater sense of community as a college, instead of as individual departments."
Since joining the Russ College more than a decade ago, Masel has seen an exciting change in the College's energy.
"Even though the size of the Russ College hasn't changed significantly in the 12 years that I've been here, it feels like a larger place because there is more happening," he discussed. "More student activities and more research are going on, which leads to a feeling of a more energetic college and campus."
Since 2000, Masel has been an active member of a cost estimation research project funded by General Electric. The project involves developing methods for cost estimation by examining a variety of GE's product lines including jet engines, gas turbines and wind turbines. GE uses those methods today to study new designs and aid in the decision of whether new designs or changes to existing designs are going to be cost effective.
"Engineers who are experts at designing these products are often less familiar with the processes needed to manufacture them. The tools we have developed take the information about a design from the engineers and identify the processes that will be used and the time that it will take to perform each process," he said.
However, Masel remains most energized about the relationships with his students and the effect he has on them after they graduate.
"I'm proud of my rapport with students," he said. "Hearing from faculty at other universities about how they are impressed with some of my former students is primarily a credit to those students -- although I like to think that I had some influence."