By Emma Sailor
The University of Iowa College of Engineering has introduced a new certificate program in naval hydrodynamics as part of its Educational Partnership Agreement with NSWC Carderock, the mechanical and industrial engineering research division of the US Navy.
James Buchholz, an associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering who serves as a coordinator for the naval hydrodynamics program, said the certificate will create new opportunities for undergraduates to learn skills in the field.
“We’ve had graduate research for about 60 years now in naval hydrodynamics, but we haven’t had many formal opportunities for undergraduates,” he said.
Buchholz said the new certificate will provide students with a “strong foundation in fundamentals that are highly relevant to the Navy and naval hydrodynamics problems,” such at-sea maneuvering, resistance, and propulsion systems.
The partnership formalizes the college’s relationship with Carderock, whose employees previously advised student projects at Iowa on an informal basis.
Buchholz said the agreement will expand undergraduate students’ opportunities to develop hands-on skills in naval engineering by opening access to some of Carderock’s equipment and intellectual resources, in addition to the formal educational program introduced with the naval hydrodynamics certificate.
“[Carderock] is a big naval research lab, and by having this agreement, it makes it much easier for staff at the navy lab to work with us. There’s more sharable equipment, and it provides a pipeline for us to provide feedback for them,” he said. “It’s in their interest to have a well-educated work force, and that’s one of their primary interests in doing this — they’re not only educating students for our benefit but for their benefit as well.”
While Buchholz acknowledged that a “landlocked institution“ such as the UI may not seem like an obvious location for a naval engineering program, he said the certificate will provide hard and soft skills relevant to a variety of career paths outside of the Navy.
“Students don’t often come here thinking they’re going to be working with the Navy when they graduate, so we want to make sure we provide a well-rounded, high-quality education,” he said. “We’ve tried to establish a supportive learning community where students are working with each other, teaching each other, and learning by teaching.”