Approximately 400 engineering textbooks that had been gathering dust in the School of Engineering basement are on their way to Cameroon, thanks to Associate Dean Bill Taylor.
Dr. Taylor is recently back after a Fulbright semester in West Africa, where he helped guide the development of a new engineering school at the Catholic University of Cameroon (CATUC). “The CATUC students are very driven to learn, but are frustrated by the lack of resources,” noted Dr. Taylor. Painfully slow internet connections, intermittent power outages and a lack of laboratory equipment exasperate even the most dedicated students and teachers. Textbooks are very expensive; Dr. Taylor brought over four large boxes last spring, the maximum allowed through diplomatic pouch. “Most students depend upon library books and lecture notes because they can’t afford their own books,” Dr. Taylor explains.
Now, CATUC is awaiting another shipment of electrical and mechanical engineering texts from Fairfield, both new and used. The mechanical engineering tomes were penned by the late Dr. Rao Dukkipati, former chair of Mechanical Engineering, who taught at Fairfield for 11 years. The others were shelved when Dr. Jerry Sergent, the just-retired chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering, left the University.
“Dr. Dukkipati’s book, Solving Vibration Analysis Problems Using MATLAB, was one of those requested by CATUC,” says Dr. Taylor. “And when the provost of the school, Fr. Tony Yilaka, came to Fairfield for a visit, we showed him the boxes of books in the basement of McAuliffe Hall as well as the remainder of Jerry’s [Sergent’s] library made generously available to us.” All would be a most welcome addition to the CATUC library.
Dr. Taylor was able to reserve space on a shipping container bound for Duola, Cameroon, containing medical supplies donated by a medical group at Yale. With his wife, Donna, and student Michael Chambers’13, they packed a trailer, then drove it down to be shipped from Washington, D.C. It may take a couple of months for the books to reach their final destination, but when they do they will constitute the core of the new engineering school’s library.
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