Centered on the Galileo’s principle that “we cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves,” Dr. Arce’s educational approach for helping his students to become professional researchers is based both on his past experiences and background. A product of undergraduate research under Professor Eduardo Lombardo (Dpt. of Fisicoquimica, Facultad de Ingenieria Quimica, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, UNL, Santa Fe, Argentina) and graduate training under leading mentors of our Chemical Engineering Profession including Dr. Alberto E. Cassano and Dr. Horacio A. Irazoqui (INTEC, UNL, Santa Fe, Argentina) and Distinguished Professor Doraiswami Ramkrishna (School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University), Dr. Arce’s view is that the student (and not his/her product) must be the key focus of any successful graduate education. Articles, thesis, presentations and patents can only be meaningful if the student behind them becomes successful at the end of the enterprise.
Within the above view, students, must know, however, that research is not a forced option for them; it is a privileged choice that one person makes because of her/his passion about inquiring learning, discovery and creativity. It is a testimony about resilience when things seem not to go the way one planned. After all “research” indicates searching many times over and over, again, looking for that result or outcome that seems to be too elusive at times. Students that are frustrated with this rather disciplined and “waiting and see game”, would be better off and, more importantly, happier if they are involved with others, also self-rewarding, activities, instead.
Key aspects that guide Dr. Arce’s research group include both collaborative approaches and diversity (in culture, skills, and gender) and he feels privileged to have the collaboration of several colleagues that offer a very unique and supportive environment for learning and research for the students; this collaborative and diverse environment is vital to drive the student in their transformation as a Renaissance Engineer. Global and Societal aspects are key characteristics of the 21st Century Renaissance Engineering Model.
Students, within the BEE-E2 have a tradition of becoming successful in achieving their goals and several have received distinctions for their scientific research, pedagogical, and technological contributions including being co-inventors in patents of new technology. The BEE-E2 Community enjoys the presence of students with diverse background including Physics, Applied Math, Environmental Engineering, Fishing Engineering, Food Technology, among others, in addition to Chemical Engineering and Chemistry. Those interested in pedagogical-based approaches will find useful Dr. Arce’s group option to pursue a “hybrid” thesis with a portion dedicated to applied pedagogical research in collaboration with the Department of Education at Tennessee Technological University.
Further information about Dr. Arce’s view in educational approaches is included in:
“Arce Named University Distinguished Faculty Award Winner” : http://www.tntech.edu/pressreleases/arces-named-distinguished-faculty-award-winner/
“Arce Advocates New Kind of Engineer with New Learning Environment”: http://www.tntech.edu/pressreleases/arce-advocates-new-kind-of-engineer-with-new-learning-environment/
Acknowledgement: Dr. Arce is deeply grateful for helpful funds provided by the State of Tenneessee (throught out the Centers of Excellence at TTU, the TTU Office of Research and Graduate Studies and the College of Engineering), national, international, and private foundations that have largely supported our research efforts. The BEE-E2 Community is the first one to have received graduate students from several countries supported by their goverments, at TTU. In particular, we are grateful to CONICYT, Chile for the generous support received.