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ASEE Connections

September 2019




In This Issue:

Products & Programs

Stevens Institute of Technology
Meet Stevens 36 New Engineering & Science Faculty

University of Nebraska´┐ŻLincoln wins 2019 NCEES Engineering Education Award


University of Houston, Research
The UH Cullen College Of Engineering Welcomes Seven New Faculty Members

Rigol Technologies
Rigol Classroom Solutions

ASEE Promotion:

ASEE's Exclusive New "Engineering Education Suppliers Guide"
A new online resource designed specifically to help engineering educators locate products and services for the classroom and research.
Learn More



By Carolyn Wilson

Over the past few years, at least 17 states have established tuition-free programs for students to attend an in-state two-year college. This trend represents an effort to open doors to postsecondary education and workforce training for students from low- or middle-income families1. As more states enact such programs across the country, we may see a surge in enrollment at two-year colleges. In 2017, nearly 6 million students enrolled in two-year colleges. Of these, 14% were Black/African American, 36% were Hispanic, 0.3% were Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and 1% were Native American/Native Alaskan2. Two-year colleges tend to have a more diverse student population than four-year universities due to lower costs and locations close to where students live. Many four-year universities, in a bid to increase diversity, have created partnerships and pathways for two-year college students to transfer into bachelor’s degree programs.

Within the science and engineering workforce, approximately 47% of terminal bachelor’s graduates, 40% of terminal Master’s graduates, and 22% of Doctoral graduates spent a portion of their postsecondary education at a two-year college, according to 2017 data from the National Science Foundation’s National Survey of College Graduates3. Among engineering graduates, 42% of terminal bachelor’s graduates, 30% of terminal Master’s graduates, and 15% of doctoral graduates attended a two-year college. Graduates with an industrial engineering degree had the highest percentages of attendance at two-year colleges at all degree levels compared with other major engineering fields.

While close to half of the science and engineering workforce with bachelor’s and Master’s degrees attended a two-year college, 19% of terminal bachelor’s graduates, 13% of terminal Master’s graduates, and 6% of doctoral graduates earned an associate’s degree before transferring to a four-year university. Among engineering graduates, 14% of terminal bachelor’s graduates, 8% of terminal Master’s graduates, and 4% of doctoral graduates earned an associate’s degree. Graduates with an industrial engineering degree had the highest percentages of earned associates’ degrees at all degree levels compared with other major engineering fields.


Carolyn Wilson is a senior research associate in ASEE’s Institutional Research & Analytics Department.

1U.S. News and World Report, September 19, 2018. 17 States Offer Tuition-Free College Programs. https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/2018-02-01/these-states-offer-tuition-free-college-programs

2Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, 2018, Table 306.20. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/2017menu_tables.asp

3NSF’s National Survey of College Graduates. https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvygrads/




II. University of Nebraska—Lincoln wins 2019 NCEES Engineering Education Award

Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction takes $25,000 grand prize for musical arts center project.

The 2019 NCEES Engineering Education Award $25,000 grand prize went to the University of Nebraska—Lincoln Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction for their submission, Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts. Architectural engineering students collaborated with professional engineers, architects, and other professionals to design the structural, mechanical, and electrical systems for the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts on the Hope College campus in Holland, Michigan. The design offers superior acoustics, integrated timber or engineered wood throughout 25 percent of the building, and a rooftop amenity space that can be used year-round.

The NCEES Engineering Education Award is awarded each year to college programs that connect students, faculty, and professional engineers in collaborative projects. “The Engineering Education Award is a great program,” said NCEES Engineering Education Award juror Steven Barrett, Ph.D., P.E. “It’s an outstanding method that celebrates engineering student design and collaboration with professional engineers.”

A jury selected this year’s winners, which also include seven $10,000 awards. The jury was composed of engineering educators, members of state engineering licensing boards, and representatives from several engineering-related societies.

Looking to 2020
NCEES invites EAC/ABET-accredited programs from all engineering disciplines to compete for the 2020 awards by submitting projects that integrate professional practice and education. Projects must be in progress or completed by March 9, 2020. The entry deadline is May 4, 2020. Learn about NCEES Engineering Education Award project ideas, evaluation criteria, and more at ncees.org/award.




III. NYU Tandon School of Engineering

NYU Tandon faculty and students are focused on vital research areas and the intersections between them in AI, Cybersecurity, Communications and Information Technology, Data Science, Emerging Media, Health, Robotics, Sustainability, and all things Urban.

Their work doesn’t just result in new technology; it results in a better world because they’re intent on solving tomorrow’s problems today. Whether they’re using data to better understand the challenges facing society, pushing the boundaries of machine learning and autonomous systems, making mobile networks more powerful, keeping cyber-systems safer, exploring the possibilities of augmented and virtual reality, partnering with medical clinicians for a healthier populace, addressing vital issues of sustainability, or making cities smarter and more livable, Tandon researchers are on it.

Building upon their rich history and forging a bright future where opportunity and diversity are keys to success: They call that being NYU Tandon Made, and it requires equal parts determination, street smarts, innovation, and entrepreneurship—as well as a healthy measure of heart. NYU Tandon proves you can be born anywhere but made in Brooklyn. #NYUTandonMade






Seven years ago, White House science advisors reported that for the United States to remain a technology leader, it would have to produce a million more STEM graduates than was projected at the time. A study in 2011 concluded that 92 percent of STEM workers will need a postsecondary education. Of these, 35 percent will need an associate’s degree, the rest a bachelor’s degree. But, as a paper presented at ASEE’s 2019 Annual Conference notes, too many high-school graduates aren’t prepared for college. The paper outlines several initiatives that San Antonio College has undertaken to attract, train and retrain students for STEM fields that it says can be easily replicated by other community colleges. The lead author is Dan G. Dimitriu, head of the engineering program at SAC.

One of SAC’s most notable initiatives was offering math refresher courses that allow students to reach higher math levels at a faster rate. Students work their way up at their own pace. In 2002, SAC instituted a “massive recruitment campaign in local high schools,” led by its engineering faculty and students, that emphasized to the high-schoolers the importance of top grades in math and science. That year it also began a National Science Foundation-funded summer bridge program with a strong math component. And it also joined NASA’s College Aerospace Scholars Program, in which students complete modules and projects online that are evaluated by NASA engineers.

In 2007, SAC opened a Math, Engineering, and Science Achievements Center (MESA), where STEM students meet, form study groups, get tutoring, work on projects and support one another. It also began an undergraduate research initiative based at MESA in 2010. So far, more than 175 students have worked on 41 different research projects. The initiatives’ results look impressive: In 2016, SAC had 698 engineering majors, up from 164 in 2001, and 65 percent of them were minority students. During the same period, the number of engineering graduates jumped from one or two a year to 50. A 2015 study found that SAC engineering students who transferred to the University of Texas, San Antonio, after two years at SAC, were twice as likely by their junior and senior years to have a GPA between 3 and 4 than students who started directly at the university. (Link: https://peer.asee.org/bridging-the-gap-two-year-colleges-at-the-crossroads-between-high-schools-and-universities-in-stem-education)



Employers certainly want the newly-graduated engineers they hire to have key technical skills. But many also want them to be entrepreneurial and have some business know-how. Some engineering schools try to instill this knowledge in their students by offering them business courses as electives and minors in entrepreneurship. But the University of New Haven’s College of Engineering has taken a different approach. A paper written by a team of New Haven engineering academics and presented at ASEE’s 2019 Annual Conference notes that as a small, private institution, the university doesn’t have enough faculty experts in those subjects. Plus, its engineering program is already jam-packed with courses. So it integrated several self-paced, e-learning modules into its regular engineering and computer-science curricula. For example, a module on learning from failure was inserted into the freshman course Project Planning and Development, while a third-year course, Applied Engineering Statistics, now includes a module on determining market risks. The content of the two-week-long online modules was devised by experts from around the country. Instructors use a flipped classroom approach to engage students on the modules’ lessons. The college also began offering an elective on business principals and entrepreneurship that has four extracurricular components, including a twice-yearly 24-Hour Imagination Quest, and an annual Startup Weekend event. Answers from 25 students who were surveyed both as incoming freshmen in 2014 and graduating seniors in 2018 were used to analyze the effectiveness of the approaches. The analysis found that the students “generally achieved significant growth in their entrepreneurial mindset,” and that this growth was most obvious in areas covered by the in-course e-learning modules. The authors call the results “very encouraging.” But the paper also has a caveat. Because of the limited number of students and faculty at New Haven, the investigators were not able to run a control group. So they plan future research in collaboration with other engineering schools that use traditional engineering curricula to compare how well their approach works. (Link: https://peer.asee.org/assessing-the-growth-in-entrepreneurial-mind-set-acquired-through-curricular-and-extra-curricular-components)





Get ready for robots invading our classrooms. No, not the kind students build to learn math, electronics, and science, but robots that can actually teach. A recent study led by Tony Belpaeme, a roboticist at the University of Plymouth, predicts that robotic teaching assistants will be increasingly used to teach narrow subjects like vocabulary and prime numbers. Robot teachers are a possible solution for schools facing budget constraints as well as demands for more personalized teaching, ScienceDaily reports. According to Belpaeme “social robots have the potential to become part of the educational infrastructure, just like paper, white boards and computer tablets,” The study, a review of more than 100 published articles, found that student learning outcomes from these teaching ’bots are pretty good. But there remain many technical constraints, including inadequate speech recognition software. There is also a risk that students might rely on them too heavily instead of only using them when they’re stuck. Finally, ethical questions will be raised: “How far do we want the education of our children to be delegated to machines?” he asks. The paper concludes that “it is highly likely that classrooms of the future will feature robots that assist a human teacher.”



Chalkbeat reports that education policy is likely to be a key part of the 2020 presidential campaign. The crowded Democratic primary field includes around 20 candidates, and the online publication recently ran short outlines of the education-policy ideas of most of them. We don’t have that much space, but here are condensed versions of the views of the three front-runners: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

In May, Biden told the American Federation of Teachers he would triple Title 1 funding, implement universal pre-kindergarten and double the number of healthcare professionals in schools. He also said he doesn’t support federal funding of charter schools. In July, he told the National Education Association (NEA) he’d appoint a teacher as education secretary.

Warren says she would make anyone earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level eligible for free child care and free pre-kindergarten programs. She also has vowed to appoint a teacher as education secretary. While Warren has praised some charter schools, she says she won’t seek additional federal funding for charters. She told an NEA forum in July that testing is “not what education is about,” and called for strengthening teacher unions while praising the recent growing number of teacher strikes. Warren has said money for public schools should stay in public schools, an indication she opposes private-school vouchers.

Sanders has a 10-point education platform that includes tripling Title 1 funding, creating a per-pupil spending floor and spending $5 billion on summer and after-school programs. Sanders also proposes more federal funding to bolster school integration. He’s expressed support for striking teachers and argues that starting salaries for teachers should be at least $60,000. Sanders would eliminate federal grants to charter schools. He’s also said he would ban for-profit charters, but that’s something a president can’t do.





Job-hunting? Check out scores of openings geared to engineering education on ASEE’s Classifieds Website, including these:





Visit here for details: http://www.asee.org/sales-and-marketing/advertising/classified-advertising/job-postings




ASEE is seeking applications and nominations for the position of Editor-in-Chief for the journal Advances in Engineering Education. The anticipated start date for this volunteer position is July 1, 2020, with applications due this fall.






COVER: THE NEW FACTORY FLOOR—Engineering the next industrial revolution.


FEATURE: RUMBLING IN THE RANKS—Non-tenured faculty raise their voices.


FEATURE: LAB IN A BOX—The story behind nScope.





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