If you are unable to schedule a tour of our engineering campus with our Engineering Ambassadors, you may follow the information below to enjoy your own self-guided tour of our side of The Hill. This will give you a place to start and a comprehensive route, plus information on the buildings and sights you will see along the way.
Start your tour where Middle Way Drive heads up the Hill from Philip Fulmer Way (adjacent to the footbridge in the photo above. Walking up the Middle Way, you’ll pass the Alumni Memorial Building on the right. This building was used as a gymnasium until the 1950s, and its semi-auditorium layout saw it hosting some legendary musical performances over the decades—from the last performance of composer Sergei Rachmaninoff to an early-career concert by U2. It was renovated just over a decade ago to contain offices, classrooms, and a greatly improved and modernized auditorium. Several of the college’s Engineering Fundamentals (EF) classes were taught in this building prior to the renovation and EF classes still continue in the building’s Cox Auditorium.
As you continue on Middle Way Drive, the Nielson Physics Building will be to your left and Neyland Stadium will be to your right. At the fork of the road, continue straight ahead on Middle Way and you will see Perkins Hall, pictured here, on your right. Constructed in 1949, Perkins Hall is home to the college’s administrative offices and academic and student support programs, including the Jerry E. Stoneking engage™ Engineering Fundamentals and Cook Grand Challenge Honors programs, Engineering Advising, the Office of Engineering Professional Practice, and the Office of Engineering Diversity Programs. Perkins is also home to some faculty members of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering and some laboratories for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Reliability and Maintainability Center.
Science and Engineering Research Facility
Directly across the street from Perkins is the towering Science and Engineering Research Facility (SERF), which opened in 1997. Our college shares SERF with researchers from the College of Arts and Sciences. Engineering faculty conduct research in this building in molecular biotechnology and bioengineering, global nuclear security, water resources engineering, medical imaging registration, and analytical transmission electron microscopy. The college’s Scintillation Materials Research Center, is also located in SERF.
Nuclear Engineering Building
Our Department of Nuclear Engineering—the first one established in the US—currently has a home in the Nuclear Engineering Building on Circle Drive on The Hill. To visit it, enter SERF and take either the stairs or elevator to the fourth floor. Exit through the north side of the atrium and step up to the street. Turn to your left for a few yards, and you’ll be at the front entrance to the nuclear department. UT’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences previously occupied this building, but moved to the renovated and expanded Strong Hall on Cumberland Avenue. The nuclear department will move to the new Zeanah Engineering Complex when that structure opens in August of 2021.
Retrace your steps through SERF and return to Middle Way. You’ll see Ferris Hall across the shaded engineering courtyard. Constructed in 1930, it is named after Professor Charles E. Ferris, the first dean of engineering. Ferris houses the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) as well as graduate student facilities for nuclear engineering. A number of MSE faculty are joint UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory professors and work very closely with the lab on projects ranging from small molecule crystallography and interactions between radiation and materials to neutron studies.
Middle Way curves away from Ferris on its way to the next sight on your tour. The Dougherty Engineering Building will be on your right, with the Sunsphere at World’s Fair Park in the background. Dougherty opened in 1963 and is named after one of the college’s most influential and prominent deans, Nathan W. Dougherty, who also played a major role in UT football history when he helped organize the present Southeastern Conference. Several laboratories in this building were renovated with funding from a $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The majority of these labs focus on research related to energy storage. The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering (MABE) are both housed in Dougherty.
Min H. Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building
As you pass Dougherty Hall, you will come further down the Hill to the Min H. Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building on your right. This state-of-the-art facility—funded in part from a $17.5 million gift from alumnus and CEO of Garmin International, Min H. Kao—was dedicated in March 2012 and was designed to be filled with natural light, which you’ll notice upon entering. It houses the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as well as the Center for Ultra-wide-area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Network (CURENT) research center, which is jointly supported by NSF and the Department of Energy (DoE).
Zeanah Engineering Complex
Once you have reached the end of Middle Way Drive, retrace your steps until you are back at the courtyard located between Ferris and Perkins halls. Across the courtyard and between these buildings, you’ll find a staircase that will take you to the Lower Drive on the south side of the Hill. As you descend the stairs, you will have an excellent view of the Zeanah Engineering Complex, named for Eric and Elaine Zeanah, longtime benefactors and alumni. Once complete, it will serve as the Gateway to Engineering at UT. It is the in-progress future home of UT’s top-ranked Department of Nuclear Engineering, the Engineering Fundamentals and Cook Grand Challenge Honors programs, the Min H. and Yu Fan Kao Innovation and Collaboration Studio, state-of-the-art classroom and advanced research laboratory spaces, and will be the hub for the college’s leadership and administrative operations.
Tickle Engineering Building
To your left at the east end of the Zeanah complex, you will see the bridge leading to the John D. Tickle Engineering Building. Walk across and enter the fourth floor to explore the building. Dedicated in October 2013, this $23.1 million facility was made possible through state funding as well as major support from TCE alumnus and the chairman of Strongwell Corporation John D. Tickle, who is also the namesake of the college. The building houses the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Industrial and Systems Engineering.
This completes your self-guided tour of the college’s facilities located on the Hill. Thank you for visiting! Additional facilities, located elsewhere on and off campus, are described below.
The college also has a presence in the UT Conference Center on Henley Street with the Center for Transportation Research, the Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment, and the Reliability and Maintainability Center. The EECS department’s Innovative Computing Laboratory is located in Claxton Hall on Volunteer Boulevard.
Additional engineering space is also located in Senter Hall on White Avenue, which provides research labs for faculty members who need temporary space while their permanent labs are being prepared. This space is also home to the world-class Ion-Beam Materials Laboratory, a radiation-defects research facility helmed by William Weber, UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Radiation Effects on Materials.
Next door to Senter Hall is the Fibers and Composites Manufacturing Facility and Engineering Annex, headed by Uday Vaidya, UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Advanced Composites and Manufacturing. Work at this facility focuses on comprehensive research and development to prototyping of advanced fiber reinforced plastics and composites. MABE also has laboratories for automobile development in this annex.
In 2005, $20 million in federal funding was secured for the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials, a joint UT-ORNL institute for advanced materials multidisciplinary research. As a national leader in the field of materials research, the college will play a leading role in the research conducted at the facility. The building opened in early 2016.