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                                 December 8, 2018



That's the outlook of Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) on the coming showdown over fiscal 2019 spending, which could include a partial government shutdown over Christmas, the Washington Post reports. Congress this week extended 2018 spending levels until December 21 for government agencies that still lack appropriations for the fiscal year that began October 1. These agencies include the National Science Foundation, NASA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security. President Trump insists that the DHS appropriation include $5 billion for a border wall, a sum that prospective House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), pictured at right, insist is a non-starter.

The Congressional Research Service explains majority-shifting lame-duck sessions.

SCHUMER - LINK INFRASTRUCTURE TO CLIMATE: Any infrastructure bill must include "policies and funding that help transition our country to a clean-energy economy and mitigate the risks the United States already faces from climate change," writes Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a Washington Post op-ed..Investments should include "massive investments in renewable-energy infrastructure, especially in exciting new technologies such as battery storage. We also must make our infrastructure more climate resilient, particularly the electrical grid and our water and wastewater systems." House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi adds: "We will lead America into future frontiers with bold investments in advanced energy research and efficiency (and) build the green infrastructure of the future with permanent clean energy tax credits."

WILL 2019 BE THE YEAR FOR A NEW HEA? With only two years left as chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) "may have some extra impetus" to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, according to Lewis-Burke Associates. The House Education and the Workforce Committee could act on HEA as well under the anticipated chairmanship of Bobby Scott (D-Va.). The panel will also "likely focus on oversight of the Department of Education (ED) in several areas including civil rights," and of  for-profit higher education institutions and school safety. "The committee is also likely to consider the issues of 'free college' and student loans." Read the Lewis-Burke Associates policy update

CRUNCH TIME FOR DEFENSE SPENDING: "Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), who is expected to be chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), has established a new task force to look at tradeoffs in funding defense programs," Lewis-Burke Associates reports. The new Congress "will be forced to address the impact of returning budget caps from the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA)," which could mean a $70 billion defense cut in the final two years of the legislation. "Without a budget agreement to lift the spending caps, the DOD’s annual authorization bill could be stymied, particularly because the new Democratic leadership is likely to impose pressure to balance defense spending with domestic priorities and the rising deficit."  

See also The Global Research and Development Landscape and Implications for the Department of Defense from the Congressional Research Service (courtesy of the Federation of American Scientists). 


integral  element  of  all  educational  activities," the White House says in Charting a Course for Success: America's Strategy for STEM Education. The congressionally mandated plan sets three goals: Build Strong Foundations for STEM Literacy; Increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEM; and Prepare the STEM Workforce for the Future. Pathways to these goals are: Develop and Enrich Strategic Partnerships; Engage Students where Disciplines Converge; Build Computational Literacy; and Operate with Transparency and Accountability. Lewis-Burke Associates notes that the strategy emphasizes “Educator-Employer Partnerships,” STEM ecosystems, diversity and inclusion, transdisciplinary learning, and refers to "teacher preparation at the postsecondary level," which was included in ASEE’s feedback. “Design systems” and “universal design principles” are also mentioned, along with a federal “focus on creating a more diverse Federal STEM workforce.” The chart below indicates how federal agencies will be involved im implementing different aspects of the strategy. See a summary by Lewis-Burke Associates

FROM RESEARCH TO IMPACT: The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) says "research is transforming engineered systems and driving innovation in a wide variety of application domains, thereby enabling new levels of economic opportunity and growth, safety and security, health and wellness, and overall quality of life." So it intends to offer Transition to Practice (TTP) supplemental funding for active awards funded through its Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and Smart and Connected Communities (S&CC) programs. Learn more.

DOE, COMMERCE SEEK PUBLIC COMMENT:  ASME's Capitol Update reports that the Department of Energy (DOE) is currently soliciting feedback on how its Office of Technology Transitions can improve the Technology Commercialization Fund through programmatic and structural changes.As mentioned in CS last week, the Department of Commerce is seeking public input on how it should identify “emerging technologies” critical to U.S. national security and what criteria to apply "to determine whether there are specific technologies within these categories important to U.S. national security."d the hazards and disasters to which it is exposed." 


Source: Charting A Course For Success: America’s Strategy For STEM Education. See also a White House factsheet and examples of agency support

Source: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Quantum Computing: Progress and Prospects (See below).

Source: American Public Health Association,  2018 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Brief for the United States of America


CHINA'S VC PLUNGE: A report by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative describes China's venture-capital entry into the high-tech U.S. marketplace. It cites Oriza Ventures, whose parent company "links its VC investments in the United States to Chinese industrial policies." Oriza Ventures has invested in such early stage companies as Omniscience, "a company that produces big data analytics software with 'technical origins in the U.S. intelligence community' that 'help government agencies to protect the homeland'; Petuum, based in Pittsburgh, an AI and machine learning startup; Drive.ai, which works on AI for self-driving cars; Aromyx, 'a Stanford University- and VC-backed biotech and data science startup in Palo Alto” whose “early technology was funded by DARPA.'"

A NEED FOR GLOBAL EXPERIENCES: ABET Executive Director Michael Milligan is encouraging academic leaders to foster  experiences that enable students "to work through real-world challenges with peers across disciplines and cultures." At the recent WEEF-GEDC conference, ABET released Sustainable Education: Readying Today’s Higher Ed Students to Tackle the World’s Grand Challenges, which features, ABET says, "case studies from . . . the University of San Diego, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Tecnológico de Monterrey that provide students with opportunities to develop as globally-aware citizens."

ABET FELLOWS: See videos and profiles of 2018 ABET fellows Walter Buchanan of Texas A&M, a past president of ASEE; Mohammad H. Hosni of Kansas State University; and Stan Thomas of Wake Forest University. 

A GRIM HISTORICAL PARALLEL: "Central European University announced on Monday that it is being forced to close down its campus in Budapest after the Hungarian government declined to certify it to continue operating in the country," New York magazine reports. "CEU will live on with a new campus in Austria, but its departure from Hungary represents both a material and a symbolic blow to the European liberal order. . . . As European Parliament member Guy Verhofstadt remarked, it’s . . . the first government closure of a university in Europe since 1943, when the Nazi occupation government in Norway shut down the University of Oslo." Co-founded by George Soros, the highly regarded graduate school doesn't offer engineering, but has degree programs in applied mathematics, technology management, environmental science, and network science.   


ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING GRAND CHALLENGES: The five, as listed by the National Academies, are: Sustainably Supply Food, Water, and Energy;  Curb Climate Change and Adapt to Its Impacts; Design a Future Without Pollution or Waste; Create Efficient, Healthy, Resilient Cities; Foster Informed Decisions and Actions. An added "ultimate challenge": Preparing the Field to Address a New Future. See the report

NOT THERE YET: A National Academies report says "significant technical advances will be required before a large-scale, practical quantum computer can be achieved." The report, an overview states, "considers hardware and software requirements, quantum algorithms, drivers of advances in quantum computing and quantum devices, benchmarks associated with relevant use cases, the time and resources required, and how to assess the probability of success." 



The 2019 Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity (CoNECD) conference will be held April 14–17, 2019, at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Crystal City, Va. (future site of Amazon’s HQ2). ASEE members qualify for a discount.
Click here to register

Two-Part Webinar on Teaching Metacognition — February 2019
How do you teach metacognition to help improve student learning? Join us for a two-part webinar event ft. Patrick Cunningham (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology) and Holly Matusovich (Virginia Tech) for insights and actionable strategies for talking to and teaching students about metacognitive development. Registration is free for ASEE members! Learn more and register


Check out scores of listings geared to engineering educators on ASEE’s Classifieds Website.

THE ASEE Zone 1 Conference will convene April 11-13, 2019 at the Conference & Event Center in Niagara Falls, NY. The conference will be held in partnership with the New York Cyber Security and Engineering Technology Association, and organized by The University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. Co-hosts include the St. Lawrence Section, Middle Atlantic Section, and Northeast Section of the ASEE. The conference will feature current and future trends in engineering and engineering technology education, with topics including, but not limited to, innovation, leadership, entrepreneurship, and the internet of things.The deadline for all paper or presentation abstracts, workshop proposals, or abstracts for student posters or lightning talks has been extended to January 15, 2019. Register here.  

NOMINATE A COLLEAGUE: The ASEE awards are the Society’s way to publicly recognize excellent work in our field of engineering and engineering technology education, research and practice. ASEE is now accepting nominations for 2019 ASEE Awards. The award winners will be recognized at the 2019 ASEE Annual Conference and Expo in Tampa, Florida in June. Nominators must be ASEE members though membership is not required to be nominated for an award. To submit a nomination, log-in at www.asee.org and click on “Award Nominations.” The deadline to submit all nomination materials is January 15, 2019.

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