DR. OZKAN CONTINUED
Another initiative is to ease the effect of reverse monopoly in the job market for new graduates. During up cycles, the fact that the oil industry is the monopolistic customer of our student product appears to ensure economically and professionally satisfying jobs for our graduates; during down cycles, on the other hand, the results of the reverse monopoly in the job market is devastating. To alleviate the problem, we will provide broader skill sets through minor options which can appeal to non-traditional employers. We will offer minors on petroleum data analytics, midstream engineering, computational sciences for oil industry, corporate social responsibility, and petroleum economics. We will start some of the minor courses this academic year but the official minor designation will be available in the 2017-18 academic year.
Figure 1: Faculty Statistics
faculty and 12 tenured/tenure-track faculty. Our expert teaching faculty generates more than 50% of the student credit hours (SCH) and our full professors generate 84% of our research funding, which indicate a healthy distribution. Currently, out of our 18 faculty, four will be considered for tenure and 10 will be applying for promotion in the next few years. This makes faculty development an important issue for the department. Especially for our junior faculty, survival in academia depends on teaching excellence and research funding. Under the unfavorable research funding conditions, they need more support to enhance their contacts with the industry and develop their research projects. One of the ways to foster this goal is to provide faculty internships in the industry during summer time. The support of alumni will be immensely appreciated in exploring faculty internship opportunities in their companies.
As shown in Fig.2, on the research front, we have not experienced a significant drop (approximately 4%) in our total research funding for the same 12-month periods (April 1 to March 31) of 2014-15 and 2015-16. This is mostly due to ongoing, multi-year projects. Comparison of the research funding for the first three months (Jan. 1 to March 31) of 2014 and 2015, however, indicated an alarming 44% drop. Analysis of these numbers indicates that our federal funding has been draining at a rate of 83% without new funding. On the other hand, our private industry funding has declined at a rate of 24% but it has been replenished at a much faster rate of 60%.
The decline in federal funds, particularly for fundamental research in academia, was the topic of our visit to Washington D.C. in April with my colleagues from Texas Tech, University of Tulsa, University of Oklahoma, and University of North Dakota, representing the Association of the US Petroleum Engineering Department Heads. We spent two days in Washington D. C. and visited 15 Congressional Representatives and Senators. We also visited the Office of Fossil Energy at DOE. At that point, the Senate and House Appropriation Committees and the Senate had already approved the FY 2017 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill. The bill, however, failed to secure the majority vote at the House later in May. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers issued a statement that the result would not stop the process; it was “merely a temporary pause”.
All the changes and efforts we have been making require not only financial but also faculty and staff resources. You would like to know that most of our faculty and staff worked non-stop over the summer on various projects from research and curriculum development to field sessions and externships. I must take this opportunity to thank our devoted faculty and staff for their selfless work to implement new programs, while helping our students to achieve their professional goals.
The pie charts in Fig.1 summarize our current faculty statistics. We have 17 faculty members consisting of five teaching
If approved, similar to the amount appropriated in FY16, House and Senate bills would appropriate $23 million for Unconventional Fossil Energy Technologies. Much to our dismay, we have found that, as in the past, the bill did not specify how the funds are to be used by the DOE. Congress’ intent on the allocation of funds is explained in an accompanying report, but it is not the law, nor is it binding. In the past, this resulted in DOE’s use of the funds in more politically popular areas, such as CO 2 sequestration and methane hydrates, but not on hard-core fossil energy technologies. We will continue our efforts to inform the legislators that current and future bills