If this message is not displaying properly, please view the online version .

ASEE Connections

October 2018




In This Issue:

Products & Programs

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 Daodao Wang

Graduates with engineering technology degrees play key roles in various engineering fields. Over the past 10 years, however, undergraduate enrollment has changed little. While the growth rate has fluctuated, the average growth rate per year is 1.74 percent, with a 3.88 percent standard deviation.

The data is from ASEE’s survey for Profiles of Engineering and Engineering Technology Colleges. On average, 100 schools (with overlap between engineering schools) participated annually.

Figure 1.

Figure 2.



II. NC State Engineering is a Research Powerhouse
sponsored content

The College of Engineering at North Carolina State University ranked eighth in the country in research expenditures among colleges of engineering in the United States and sixth among public institutions in 2016-17, according to American Society for Engineering Education data.

The College leads or is heavily involved in 24 national centers, institutes and laboratories and leads two National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centers (ERC). NC State is one of only two schools in the United States currently leading two ERCs and one of only two schools to ever be awarded the lead role in three ERCs.

The Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center is developing a next-generation power grid that allows bi-directional flow and integrates renewable energy sources. The Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) is making wearable, self-powered health-monitoring systems.

The College and NC State are also:

- The lead institution in the Consortium for Nonproliferation Enabling Capabilities, a National Nuclear Security Administration effort to develop the next generation of technologies in and leaders of the field of nuclear nonproliferation.

- The lead institution in PowerAmerica, a National Manufacturing Innovation Institution (NMII) that is furthering the development of wide-bandgap semiconductor-based power electronics.

- A member of the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors, a Department of Energy hub working to improve the operation and safety of the current generation of light water nuclear reactors.

- Home to a National Security Administration Science of Security Lablet, which is conducting research on cybersecurity.

- A partner in the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals, an NMII that is working to accelerate U.S. innovation in biopharmaceuticals.

Learn more at www.engr.ncsu.edu/research.



III. Tools for Classrooms and Research Projects
sponsored content

The demand for mechatronics engineers is huge across the global manufacturing market. Today’s modern world offers a broad range of products that incorporate software and electronics components, making mechatronic product development a hot commodity.

Most technology-based universities now offer degrees in mechatronics engineering. These programs embrace application projects that fuse mechanical, electronic, computer, systems and control engineering disciplines.

Some examples of the kinds of mechatronic projects engineering students are working on right now at universities around the globe include: Components for hybrid and electric vehicles, robotic systems, driver assistance systems, green technology, electric motors and drives, medical devices, etc.

If your university is working on a project that involves model-based development and mechatronics, you should consider Advanced Control Education (ACE) Kits available through dSPACE.

ACE Kits are combined packages of high-performance hardware and software tools for developing and testing mechatronic control systems in classrooms and research projects.

The tools in an ACE Kit make it easy to visualize even the most complex open and closed loop controls, from the initial draft using block diagrams to the final online optimization of the controller in real time.

ACE Kit software works in a standard Microsoft© Windows® environment. The provided tools automatically migrate your control system design from the Simulink® environment to dSPACE real-time systems in a matter of seconds, and experimenting and analyzing system design is simple.

ACE Kit hardware ranges from systems with a fixed number of I/O to modular, expandable systems that can be fully customized.

With an ACE Kit, you can introduce your students to the latest development tools and methods that are being used by real-world industry.

To request more information on exclusive offers for academia, click here.





The Trump administration is changing rules to weaken how greenhouse gases are regulated in cooling units, and the EPA’s draft proposal also deletes language describing how climate change affects children, The Hill reports. The draft, released earlier this month, pertains to heat-trapping chemicals known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Language inserted in the rule by the Obama administration about the health dangers to children from global warming creates has been stripped out, the newspaper reports. The Obama rule read, in part: “Certain populations and life stages, including children, the elderly, and the poor, are most vulnerable to climate-related health effects . . . impacts to children are expected from heat waves, air pollution, infectious and waterborne illnesses, and mental health effects resulting from extreme weather events.” The EPA declined to comment when contacted by The Hill about the language change and referred questions to the White House, which also did not comment. Overall, the new rule would end the 2016 requirement that HFCs be phased out as refrigerants in household appliances, including air conditioners and refrigerators. HFCs are a known greenhouse gas that also contribute to ozone depletion. The EPA says the previous rule “exceeded its statutory authority” because it extended a restriction to include ozone-depleting substitutes to HFCs.



A San Francisco ballot proposal for a corporate gross-receipts tax to pay for efforts to address homelessness has opened a dispute within the city’s high-technology industry. San Francisco, home to many successful tech companies, has the country’s seventh-highest homeless population. Proposition C, the brainchild of the nonprofit Coalition on Homelessness, would raise $300 million a year to pay for short-term shelters, permanent housing and mental-health services for the homeless, the New York Times says. Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, an online software company, is spending $2 million to back the measure. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, opposes it. The Times notes that tech companies are often blamed for making inequality worse and pushing up property prices^—which can worsen homelessness—because of the generous pay packages they offer employees. Additionally, many of the companies have benefitted from local tax breaks. Mayor London Breed opposes the measure, although she had campaigned pledging to tackle the homelessness problem. Voters will decide the issue Nov. 6, and polls indicate a close result.





In the old Star Trek TV series, medics used a tricorder to quickly and accurately diagnose illnesses. Now engineers at the University of Glasgow have come up with a device inspired by the tricorder: the “multicorder,” a handheld instrument based on a silicon chip. It could, they say, enable doctors to make fast yet careful medical diagnoses more readily. The multicorder is a sensor that links to a smartphone app, and it measures various metabolites in fluid samples taken from patients. Metabolites are small molecules found in human fluids, and monitoring and measuring them can give doctors a quick means to track general health or the progression of some diseases. The ability to detect and quantify several of these biomarkers simultaneously would enable physicians or medics to make rapid diagnoses of heart attacks, strokes and some cancers. Currently, the only processes to measure them are costly, slow, and rely on large equipment, such as nuclear magnetic resonance and hyphenated mass spectrometry techniques. The Glasgow device uses a a new type of complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) chip, a type of chip that many imaging techniques use and that is inexpensive to manufacture. The multicorder’s chip is smaller than a fingertip, and is divided into several reaction zones that can detect and measure up to four metabolites at once, using any bodily fluid—urine or serum, for instance. The prototype version operates using an Android tablet or smartphone.



NantEnergy, a company based in Arizona and California, and founded by Patrick Soon-Shiong, the billionaire surgeon and biotech entrepreneur who recently bought the Los Angeles Times, announced earlier this month it has developed a rechargeable, zinc-air battery that can store electricity at lower cost—and more safely—than lithium-ion batteries, the New York Times reports. Lithium-ion batteries are now the go-to power source for everything from electric vehicles to smartphones, and they’re also popular for storing power generated by solar and wind energy. But they’re expensive, rely on scarce minerals, and can catch fire. NantEnergy’s zinc-air batteries have successfully stored and supplied power to villages in Africa and Asia, as well as cellphone towers in the U.S., for six years, with no problems and without need of the electric grid, the paper says. Cellphone towers powered by them withstood the destruction unleashed in North Carolina by Hurricane Florence this year, and Hurricane Irma last year. NantEnergy is the first company to commercialize zinc-air batteries. Deliveries should start next year, and Soon-Shiong tells the Times he see the potential for a $50 billion market. The technology costs less than $100 per kilowatt-hour, which energy industry sources say is cheap enough to transform the grid into a 24/7, carbon-free system, the article says. The cost of using lithium-ion batteries is estimated at $300 to $400 per kilowatt-hour, depending on use. The briefcase-size NantEnergy battery stores electricity is stored by converting the zinc oxide inside the battery into zinc and oxygen. To discharge energy, the system oxidizes the zinc with air. One battery, the company claims, can supply power for 72 hours before it needs recharging.





The FBI earlier this month issued an alert to K-12 schools that use education technology to be extra careful when it comes to cybersecurity and to take every precaution when protecting student data because that information is increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals, The Hill reports. The bureau notes that while education technology offers many valuable teaching tools and experiences, and can make administrative chores easier, the tradeoff is that the companies who market the services often gain access to student data, including biometrics, personal identifiable information and the geolocation of students. There were two known cyberattacks on ed-tech companies last year, the article says. The alert reads, in part: “Malicious use of this sensitive data could result in social engineering, bullying, tracking, identity theft, or other means for targeting children.” It goes on say that schools and parents should pay heightened attention to “the important role cybersecurity plays in the securing of student information and devices.”



Attitudes toward America^’s public-school teachers have changed for the better over the last decade, and three different Time magazine covers offer vivid portraits of that swing in opinion, reports Washington Post education writer Valerie Strauss. In 2008, a Time cover pictured the former head of Washington, D.C., schools Michelle Rhee, who championed standardized-test reform as a way to fix schools. Two years later, Rhee was gone, “but her attack on teachers . . . had legs for years,” despite much evidence that evaluating teachers on standarized-test scores was wrongheaded. The movement Rhee helped propel led to attacks on the two largest teacher unions, criticism the unions called unfair. Teacher morale plummeted, Strauss writes, as did enrollment in education-degree programs. A 2014 Time cover story that referred to teachers as rotten apples claimed it was nearly impossible to fire bad teachers. But this year, a Time cover lionized struggling teachers in the wake of recent teacher strikes in some Republican-governed states over poor school conditions, lack of resources and salaries that don’t pay a living wage. The article is an indication that the demonization of teachers has ended, Strauss writes, and in many states “they are being seen as what most are: hard-working, underpaid professionals who are underappreciated by a good percentage of the country.”




Job–hunting? Here are a few current openings:





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





COVER: PLASTIC—Engineers work on high-performing, non-polluting substitutes while trying to clean up vast amounts of debris in oceans and waterways.

FEATURE: SPACE—A look at NASA’s quest to establish a lunar outpost that one day could enable human expeditions to Mars and beyond.

FEATURE: GHANA—The West African nation’s economy is growing fast. Engineering education’s progress is slower..





Ask Better Questions with the Question Formulation Technique—Tune in Dec. 5 at 1:00 PM, ET for a free webinar with the Right Question Institute to learn how the Question Formulation Technique can help researchers create better research questions and help faculty teach students to develop their question formulation skills. Register now.


A Two-Part Virtual Event from IEEE—As blockchain technology rapidly expands into nearly every industry, professionals require training that goes beyond the basic blockchain definitions and theories. Explore technical differentiation, benefits and enterprise-level use cases of blockchain in-depth in two interactive, 1-hour sessions on Dec. 4 and 5. Save $50 on your registration with promo code 18ABASEE. Register and save your spot.




Do you have a comment or suggestion for Connections?

Please let us know. Email us at: connections@asee.org. Thanks.


This newsletter was sent to you by:

American Society for Engineering Education
1818 N Street, N.W.
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036


Managing Editor: Tom Grose
Information for Advertisers


To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please reply to connections@asee.org with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line - please include the email address that you would like removed from the mailing list.


This email was sent to [email address suppressed]. If you are no longer interested you can unsubscribe instantly.