Houghton College welcomes Professor Mark Budnik as the director of Houghton’s new electrical engineering program. He holds the Houghton College Irwin Chair of Engineering, an endowed tenure-track position with allowances for research, publications, and travel.
Budnik first learned about Houghton’s electrical engineering program through Brandon Hoffman, the chair of Houghton’s physics department. “I thought this could be a wonderful opportunity to take part in building a program that develops young women and men for a vocation of service through engineering,” said Budnik. He emphasized the program’s dual focus on theory and practice, designed to create an academically stimulating atmosphere where students “solve [engineering] problems in a warm, welcoming, inclusive, Christian environment.”
According to Houghton physics professor Mark Yuly, “[Budnik] has all the past experience we were hoping to find in someone who could lead our engineering program—previous teaching experience, experience in industry, and experience with engineering accreditation.” Yuly believes that the program will complement Houghton’s other offerings in the sciences, allowing students to acquire valuable, practical knowledge that can be used to solve real-world problems.
Houghton College President Shirley Mullen commented that “Dr. Budnik’s leadership will ensure that Houghton’s program prepares engineers not only with strong technical expertise, but also with the passion, the values, and communication skills necessary to make a difference for good in whatever communities they find themselves around the world.”
A Valuable Background in Teaching and Industry
This year, Budnik was selected to receive the National Outstanding Teaching Award from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). The award recognizes professors who have displayed outstanding classroom performance and distinguished contributions to the scholarship of teaching.
Budnik has a PhD from Purdue University. While at Purdue, he was named the 2006 School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Outstanding Graduate Student.
In addition to his more recent work as an engineering professor, Budnik has also had a successful 15-year career in the engineering industry. From 2017 to 2019, he served as principal engineer at BeulahWorks, LLC, doing summer and contract work on artificial intelligence systems. He has also held roles with Hitachi Semiconductor, National Semiconductor, and SGC-Thomson Microelectronics, as well as internships with Intel Corporation and Infineon Technologies.
Budnik also currently serves as the Paul H. Brandt Professor of Engineering at Valparaiso University, where he has taught since 2006.