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                                November 3, 2018



A lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal District Court in Greensboro, N.C. contends that an August 9 memorandum issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service could cause tens of thousands of students from other countries to face lengthy bans against returning to the United States after staying here too long — in some cases inadvertently, news reports say. The plaintiffs--Guilford College International Club, the New School, Foothill-De Anza Community College District in California, and Haverford College--call the policy change “a massive reconfiguration of the immigration laws relating to higher education.” The Greensboro News Record reports that under the former policy, the clock for counting a person’s unlawful presence status started after a formal ruling by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "The new policy starts counting as soon as a student leaves school or when immigration officials say someone commits an infraction, such as working too many hours on campus, failing to report a new address or taking too few courses."

HOT DRAM: A U.S. indictment spells out an alleged scheme whereby a state-owned Chinese semiconductor manufacturer and a partner firm in Taiwan stole proprietary technology for dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips from Idaho-based Micron Technology, according to Law 360. China had previously identified development of DRAM technology as a national economic priority, the indictment says. According to Wired, "Micron is one of just a handful of companies making DRAM, and the only American one—it’s worth $45 billion and has a fifth of the global market." Wired calls the case "a virtual shot in the cold-but-warming trade war between China and the US."

FIRST MEEP AWARDS: The Pentagon announced the initial set of winners in its congressionally authorized Manufacturing Engineering Education Program: Battelle Education (Columbus, Ohio) will leverage public private partnerships to strengthen manufacturing engineering education at the high school level; Clemson University "will develop immersive and personalized instruction to strengthen learning and retention for high-school through graduate school students"; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology "will develop a comprehensive 15-month apprenticeship training program in support of a highly-skilled manufacturing workforce. This program will teach general and specific manufacturing competencies (ex., introductory quantum mechanics, electrical technology, and design principles) that demonstrate the interrelation of various manufacturing sectors"; the National Center for Defense Manufacturing & Machining (Blairsville, Pa.) "will develop and launch a series of new virtual courses, inclusive of additive manufacturing and related technologies, to broaden and extend the scope of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers'  long-standing certificate programs."

SPACE FORCE UNKNOWNS: "Left unsaid in most discussions of Space Force has been the fate of military laboratories and research programs that conduct fundamental research and development to enable new space capabilities," Lewis-Burke Associates writes in its latest Defense Policy Newsletter. While It's unlikely that space research funding will be detached from the Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Naval Research Laboratory, "DOD is proposing standing up a Space Development Agency to help the military 'develop and field capability more quickly,' according to Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. . . . For FY 2020, initial (Space Force) costs are $3.3 billion, but the largest impact to the budget won’t occur until FY 2021 when a request for a five-year spending plan of $12.9 billion competes with other DOD priorities."

NOT GROWING: The National Science Foundation appears to have temporarily suspended its Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) program while it reviews "possible future directions." ScienceInsider quotes Amanda Greenwell, head of NSF’s Office Of Legislative and Public Affairs, as saying the agency "expects to make an announcement within the coming weeks” but that it “will not be publicly discussing the topic during the decision making process.” The program allows students with Graduate Research Fellowships to apply for an additional $5,000 GROW allowance to cover travel and living expenses incurred while working in one of 17 countries. "Greenwell . . . said the number of GROW recipients has declined over the past 3 years, from 158 in 2016 to 88 this year." 

RED ALERT: NSF's Revolutionizing Engineering Departments program has been revised to "highlight the focus on the middle two years of undergraduate engineering curricula as well as emphasize the attention to cultural, organizational, structural and pedagogical changes . . . necessary to reinforce and sustain desired transformations." An Adaptation & Implementation (A&I) track has been added "to foster the propagation of proven change strategies to new contexts." Learn more.

GEN-4 ERCs: A November 7 webinar will review the recently released solicitation address questions. Interested participants are invited to send questions ahead of time to nsferc@nsf.gov. Find out how to join.

MINUTES of the April, 2018 meeting of the Engineering Directorate Advisory Committee have been posted. Members discussed, among other things, NSF's Navigating the New Arctic initiative. Find them here..

'INCLUDES' ENTERS NEW PHASE: "The National Science Foundation’s flagship initiative for increasing participation of underrepresented groups in STEM fields is aiming to establish a national network of programs that can scale up successful strategies for tackling longstanding workforce disparities," the American Institute of Physics' FYI Bulletin reports.  .


TWO-YEAR BUDGET CYCLE MOVES AHEAD: Reps. Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Steve Womack (R-Ark.), co-chairs of the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform have agreed on legislation "that would move Congress from an annual to a biennial budget resolution," CQ reports, citing unnamed sources. This follows "months of public hearings and closed-door meetings" in which more sweeping proposals were discussed but failed to gain the needed support. "A mark up is scheduled for the week of November 13."


Source: National Science Board, Bridging the Gap: Building a Sustained Approach to Mid-scale Research Infrastructure and Cyberinfrastructure at NSF.


SUPPORT FOR DREAMERS: Rutgers University's flagship New Brunswick campus has announced that it will partner with TheDream.US, a private scholarship organization, to assist undocumented students who qualify under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Dream.US opened its application process November 1 for two scholarships: "The National Scholarship is for high school or community college graduates. The Opportunity Scholarship is for students who live in targeted, locked-out states where they cannot get in-state tuition."

PATHWAY FOR VETS: Veterans were more likely than nonveterans to have attended community college, a National Science Foundation Infobrief reports. "Among civilian college graduates, 35% of veterans earned an associate's degree, compared with 20% of nonveterans.To finance their undergraduate degree, half of veterans (53%) relied on the Veterans Educational Assistance Act (GI Bill). In comparison, over half of nonveterans (60%) used assistance provided by their parents, spouse, or relatives that was not intended to be repaid. Post-baccalaureate, 31% of veterans had earned a master's degree as their highest degree and 2% had earned a doctorate. Among nonveterans, the highest degree was at the master's level for 27% and at the doctorate level for 4%."


HEAVY WEAPONS: The 70-ton M-1 Abrams tank can bust through walls, ford water, and knock down trees while withstanding heat, cold, thermal cycling, solar radiation, rain, humidity, salt fog, sand and dust, vibration, and shock. But it weighs so much that a C-17 transport can carry only one at a time. The Army wants to develop a 30- to 35-ton vehicle by 2030 with the same capabilities. It needs to to identify the necessary technologies, materials, and vehicle and component designs. Find out more in a National Academies workshop report. 


ASEE AT 125 VIDEO CONTEST: One of the activities planned to mark ASEE‘s 125th anniversary is EEin25, the first-ever ASEE video contest. Undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students may submit a 90-second video on where engineering education will be in 25 years at ASEE‘s 150th Anniversary in 2043. Click here to find out more. Click here to learn about other activities commemorating 125 Years at the Heart of Engineering Education.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE ACCELERATOR: ASEE's free monthly newsletter for undergraduate and graduate students has a wide array of resources: scholarship and internship/co-op listings, student news and essays, podcasts, professional development resources (e.g., advice on how to get an internship and how to make the most of it), and academic advice - plus entertaining engineering videos. Tell your students! Click here to subscribe. Send content to Jennifer Pocock at j.pocock@asee.org.

FIRE UP THE FUTURE WITH eGFI: Filled with engaging features, gorgeous graphics, and useful information about engineering colleges and careers, the latest edition of ASEE's award-winning Engineering, Go For It is sure to get your students excited about learning - and doing - engineering!

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