Campus News - January 28, 2002

Kauffman redirects energy to teaching

By Michael Padilla

Kauffman evaluates a student solar energy project near Dane Smith Hall. Photo by Michael Padilla.Dave Kauffman considers himself the corporate memory of the UNM School of Engineering (SOE).

Ask him a question about UNM’s engineering programs and not only will he answer it— he’ll prove it to you. It’s the engineer in him.

Kauffman says he can remember just about everything that has occurred at SOE since 1977. At the very least, he will point you in the right direction to obtain the information.

After serving as SOE associate dean for 15 years, Kauffman will resume his duties as a full-time professor in the Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Department this semester.

During his tenure as associate dean, he worked with five deans—including interims, helped thousand of students, assisted hundreds of faculty, and taught a course or two each semester, except for one semester. He also kept up with the latest issues in chemical and nuclear energy.

“It’s been fun,” Kauffman said. “I felt that I’d been in the job long enough, and I felt it was time for someone else to get things done.”

Kauffman says he is ready to concentrate on teaching and focus on helping students achieve and grow. “The best part of working with students is seeing the growth that takes place,” he said. “I enjoy seeing them as freshmen then as seniors.

“It’s a great challenge to be a professor,” he said, adding that many students say that he is demanding yet accessible and helpful. “The biggest challenge is keeping up to date and keeping it exciting from year to year.”

Kauffman is most proud of three major accomplishments as associate dean. The first is leading SOE in three major accreditation visits, second is helping to establish the Waste-Management Education and Research Consortium (WERC) Program, a group for environmental education and technology development, and third is assisting in the start up of instructional television (ITV) at UNM.

“When I first started as associate dean, the school had just begun its accreditation review,” he said. “Getting ready for an accreditation visit is a major process. I had to find out what the accreditation review board wanted and I made sure that they got what they asked for.”

Serving as associate director for education in the WERC Program, which helps students receive degrees or certificates in environment, waste, or related engineering areas, Kauffman was instrumental in working with New Mexico State, New Mexico Tech and Dine College.

“One of the most gratifying factors was that we had schools working together,” he said. “We helped more than 500 students in receiving their degrees.”

The efforts of ITV at UNM had just begun when Kauffman began his tenure as associate dean. Kauffman said he worked with Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories and other government and industry sites in the state.

Kauffman said that UNM is a great place to be and does a great job in preparing students for the workforce. “Many of UNM’s students go on to Stanford, MIT and other universities to continue their graduate studies,” he said. “That really tells you something about UNM.”

Kauffman has been singing with the New Mexico Symphony Chorus for 20 years and serves as vice president for the group. His wife is also a singer in the group. In addition, he is a member of the St. John’s Episcopal Church choir in downtown Albuquerque. He is also an avid skier and enjoys traveling. His daughter is a veterinary technician in Santa Fe.

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