Rural Reimagined Grand Challenge

Dr. Pedro Arce 2021 Outstanding Chemical Engineer Alum Award

Photo Credit: Courtesy from the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University

Photo Credit: Courtesy from the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University

Rural Reimagined congratulates Dr. Pedro Arce on receiving an award for his research at Tennessee Tech. Dr. Arce was recently invited back to his alma mater, Purdue University, to accept the 2021 Outstanding Chemical Engineer Alum Award (OChE) from the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering. A very prestigious award, the OChE is only bestowed upon the top one percent of the alumni at Purdue, with only 119 out of 9,000 past alumni being awarded. Dr. Arce was awarded the OChE for his work in engineering education at Tn Tech and specifically for “his forward-thinking approach to developing an interdisciplinary model defining the ‘new’ engineer.”

Dr. Arce has been a professor and chairperson of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Tennessee Tech for over 18 years. During that time, he has worked alongside Rural Reimagined on many projects and collaborations and was recognized recently for his work promoting his concept of a new type of professional engineer – one that is holistic, innovative, socially impactful, and with an entrepreneur mindset. Additionally, Purdue University recognized Dr. Arce’s Renaissance Foundry Model, or “The Foundry,” which is a protocol or “engine” that academic organizations can use to assist in their search for innovations and academic transformations. The Foundry, based on two Knowledge Paradigms, i.e., “Acquisition” and “Transfer” is built on six key elements including Organizational (or other) Challenge for Innovation, Organizational Tools, Resources, Learning Cycles, Linear Engineering Sequence, and a Prototype of Innovative Technology, was inspired by three guiding concepts: Vision, Leadership, and Innovation. Together, these three concepts create a never-before-seen protocol for educating students in engineering, as well as STEM degrees in general. 

Dr. Arce is proud of the collaboration and support from an interdisciplinary team of colleagues including business, education, nursing, social sciences, and engineering that led to the Foundry concept. In addition to the Tech QEP program, the Foundry has received three additional recognitions from the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) and funding from the TBR, Venture Well Foundation and Tech QEP for implementation and assessment. 

The work performed by Dr. Arce in projects like the “new” type of engineer and the Foundry is exceptional and entirely deserving of the recognition that he has received. Additionally, his efforts represent a testament to the academic and professional foundation formed at Purdue University, which carries on and extends to the collaborations, support, and teaching contributions which Dr. Arce provides to Tn Tech. Rural Reimagined is excited to continue its partnership with Dr. Arce, the Chemical Engineering Department, and the engineers that will graduate and hopefully serve our surrounding rural areas. We congratulate and welcomes his new achievement. Wings up!

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