Dept Head Initiatives & Accomplishments

993660_546267452087311_1565450634_nDr. Rockstraw seeks to keep the NMSU CHME program on the cutting edge of the needs of the industry.  In this regard, he works with the CHME faculty to adjust the content of the BSCHE to keep it relevant and add new certificates and programs that provide specialized training to help NMSU CHME grads get the jobs they want.  Such initiatives include:

  • Led the installation of the Bob & Gwen Watkins Connected Learning Classroom and established use of Adobe Connect to permit remote participation in classes.
  • Developed a culture of safety and awareness within the program.
  • Designed and implemented NMSBrew, an award-winning brewery engineering minor and brewing industry-support program within the chemical engineering curriculum.
  • Increased awareness of the career opportunities in Chemical & Materials Engineering as well as understanding of high school preparations and consequences of completing fundamental studies at a community or junior college , such as in this presentation at the 2014 New Mexico Career and Technical Education Conference in the Ruidoso Convention Center in Ruidoso, NM – June 12, 2012
  • Changed the name of the department to “Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering” to better reflect the research initiatives of the faculty.
  • Add minors in Brewery Engineering, Materials Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Pre-Medicine Studies, Computational Engineering, and Pre-Law Intellectual Property to the department offerings.
  • Designed a combined BSCHE/MBA program that can be completed in 5 years.
  • Lobbied to drive Jett Hall to the #1 capital outlay on the NMSU campus, for which the NM Legislature recently approved $19.2 million for renovations.  Educated the public on the connection of GO Bond C to high tech job opportunities in New Mexico.  Construction began in 2015 with completion in 2017.
  • Developed and continue to develop easily accessible online tools that permit the NMSU CHME constituency to work more effectively, including such tools as
    • Continuous Improvement & Management of Change database that streamlines and automates the data collection and processing of course assessment activities
    • online TA evaluation form
    • an online research project form permitting faculty to post information about available research projects to help recruit the strongest candidates for the task
    • a real-time chemical inventory system that transfers the burden of data entry to the researcher at the point of chemical order, from the lab manager at time of receipt
    • an online co-op/internship survey to permit the collection of data about pay levels, employers, and student job responsibilities