December 7, 2017

In This Issue

TMS Addresses Potential Graduate Student Impact of U.S. Tax Bills

On November 28, TMS, as a professional society headquartered in the United States, delivered letters to Paul D. Ryan, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Kevin Brady, chair of the Committee on Ways and Means (which is the chief tax-writing committee in the U.S. House of Representatives), expressing concern that, if enacted, H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, would detrimentally impact the fields in which TMS works by creating a barrier to entry into graduate-level educational institutions for advanced training and education in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. 

The letter, signed by 2017 TMS President David H. DeYoung and TMS Executive Director James J. Robinson, specifically discusses the portion of the act that would repeal the current tax-exempt status of Qualified Tuition Reductions (QTR). QTRs help defray the costs of an advanced degree for research assistants and teaching assistants. Repealing the tax-exempt status of QTRs would have immediate impacts on current students—possibly forcing some out of their programs of study—as well as long-term impacts on students pursuing specialized degrees in STEM fields, including higher level degrees in materials science and engineering, by limiting the growth of those fields over time.

Read the full message from TMS leadership.

The letter urges congressional leaders to reconsider the repeal of the current tax-exempt status of QTRs, reminding them of the importance of growing, rather than inhibiting, growth in the STEM fields. 

“As a matter of public policy,” the letter states, “it is also important that the United States retain its global technological advantage by not placing barriers to advanced degrees on prospective students who will eventually lead their respective fields into the future.”

At the time of this writing, the Society is preparing a second letter on the same subject to those elected officials who are working to reconcile differences between the separate tax bills passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Legislators hope to have the bill signed into law by the end of 2017.

Learn more about current legislative issues of interest to the minerals, metals, and materials science and engineering community and how TMS is responding to them on the TMS Public and Government Affairs web pages.

ABET Announces Criteria Update for 2019-2020 

ABET's Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) General Criteria 3 & 5 for Baccalaureate Level Programs has been approved for implementation in the 2019-2020 cycle. These criteria apply to all accredited engineering programs and are intended to foster the systematic pursuit of improvement in the quality of engineering education, according to ABET, the organization responsible for the accreditation of college and university programs in the disciplines of applied and natural science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology at the associate, bachelor, and master degree levels. 

The changed sections are:
  • The Introduction and definitions that apply to all parts of the criteria
  • Criteria 3, Student Outcomes
  • Criteria 5, Curriculum
"The revised Criteria 3 and 5 along with the expanded definitions of the various terms allow programs more flexibility in designing the curriculum and focus on developing the student outcomes within the context of the institution and the program," said Devarajan Venugopalan, chair of the TMS Accreditation Committee. "Some curricular aspects that were stated as student outcomes in the current version of the criteria have been appropriately moved to the criterion on curriculum. For example, Criterion 3 (h) about broad education to complement the engineering education has been moved to Criterion 5. Thus the new Criterion 3 focuses more on what students have learned and are able to do rather than what they are taught." 
The definitions of the terms are more clearly articulated in the new criteria, Venugopalan said, which should help programs strengthen diversity and inclusivity. 

"The definition of a 'team' now states that the team 'should include individuals of diverse backgrounds, skills, or perspectives,'" Venugopalan said. "This should help materials science and engineering because the field is intrinsically multidisciplinary, with faculty and students from multiple backgrounds and perspectives on the problems to be solved. This definition also supports initiatives to increase participation by women and minorities in engineering programs and supports the goals and efforts of the TMS Diversity Committee." 
All general reviews conducted in the 2019–2020 Cycle and beyond will be evaluated relative to these new criteria.  Programs scheduled for a general review in 2019–2020 may begin the transition as soon as possible. Programs scheduled for review in the 2018–2019 cycle should not begin transitioning prior to that review. View EAC General Criteria Revisions 3 & 5.

TMS is the ABET Participating Body with lead society curricular responsibility for programs in metallurgical, materials, and similarly named engineering programs. If you would like to be more involved in TMS and its accreditation activities, consider serving as a program evaluator. Evaluators visit the programs for which TMS has curricular responsibility. The TMS Accreditation Committee accepts applications for program evaluators on an ongoing basis. (Note that application is made directly to ABET.) If you are interested in applying to be a program evaluator, please visit the University Program Accreditation page on the TMS website to learn more. 
Help Us Reach Our Goals in New Donor December 

The TMS Foundation’s 2017 Annual Appeal is in full swing! This month, we’ve set a new goal of gaining 50 new donors. To welcome all new donors into the Foundation family, every gift made in December will be doubled by our generous challenge match supporters: Martin and Lucinda Glicksman, Diamond Society Members, Robert and Robyn Wagoner, Gold Society Members, Joseph and Bonnie Defilippi, Titanium Society Members.

Whether you’re a long-time supporter of the Foundation, it’s been a while since your last gift, or you’re a first-time donor, now is the time to give! Please contribute today to help us reach our 2017 Annual Appeal goal of raising $100,000 by December 31, 2017 by making a personal gift in one of the following, easy ways:

  1. Use our online contribution form
  2. Send a check, payable to the TMS Foundation, to TMS headquarters at: 5700 Corporate Drive Suite 750, Pittsburgh, PA 15237
  3. E-mail Mary Samsa, TMS Foundation & Public Affairs Manager, or call at 1–724–814–3130 to discuss donation options or to donate by phone
Your donation helps to fund awards that recognize talent and achievement, scholarships that reduce financial burden on students, valuable opportunities for travel and networking, and programs to develop and inspire leadership. Gifts made to the TMS Foundation also support TMS’s diversity and inclusion and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) initiatives. Visit the Foundation website to learn more about the programs promoting academic and professional excellence that the TMS Foundation supports.

Don’t forget— AmazonSmile is also an easy way to give to the Foundation at no cost to you. When you shop using AmazonSmile and select “Minerals, Metals & Materials Society” as your charity of choice, Amazon will make a 0.5 percent donation to the TMS Foundation of the price of eligible Amazon products.

Emerging Leaders Hone their Skills at Professional Development Conference 

In November, the TMS Foundation provided funding for eight early career professionals to receive leadership training at the four-day Emerging Leaders Alliance Conference (ELA), a unique leadership development program for scientists and engineers. 

The conference, held in Falls Church, Virginia, November 5-8, was designed for early-career professionals on track for leadership roles or upper-level management positions in their organizations. The goal of the program is to strengthen attendees’ nontechnical skills in a setting that allows them to interact across disciplines and obtain foundational, executive-level knowledge. In addition, themes of social responsibility and environmental stewardship are woven throughout the training curriculum.

TMS and the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME), of which TMS is a member society, are among the partnering societies who work together to offer the annual ELA conference.

This year’s participants are pictured in the photo. Front row, from left to right, are TMS Awards Program Administrator Deborah Hixon; ELA participants Valentina Angelici-Avincola, University of Virginia, and Hamidreza Mohseni, Robert Bosch LLC; AIME representatives Olivia Underwood and William Hearn; and ELA participant Babak Arfaei, Binghamton University. Back row, from left to right, are ELA participants Christopher Roberts, Latrobe Specialty Metals; Assel Aitkaliyeva, University of Florida; Shawn Coleman, U.S. Army Research Laboratory; Amber Genau, University of Alabama; and Graeme Goodall, XPS Centre.

Details have not yet been finalized for the 2018 ELA Conference, but TMS, through the TMS Foundation, will act as a sponsoring society again for the event in 2018. If you are interested in applying for a seat at the 2018 ELA conference, please contact Deborah Hixon, TMS Awards Program Administrator, or visit the TMS Emerging Leaders Alliance website for information on how to compile your ELA application. The TMS Foundation will provide funding for eight TMS members to participate in this training program for 2018.