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NSF FORMS 10-SCHOOL COALITION, LED BY DREXEL UNIVERSITY, TO REVOLUTIONIZE ENGINEERING EDUCATION

 NSF FORMS 10-SCHOOL COALITION, LED BY DREXEL UNIVERSITY,
 TO REVOLUTIONIZE ENGINEERING EDUCATION
 PHILADELPHIA, March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Science Foundation today awarded $15 million for Drexel University to establish a 10-school, six-state Gateway Engineering Education Coalition that plans to revolutionize the education of American engineers.
 Drexel, which conceived and proposed the coalition, will direct the five-year project with participation from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as: Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland; Columbia University, Cooper Union and Polytechnic University in New York; Florida International University in Miami; New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark; Ohio State University in Columbus; and the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
 The coalition will expand curriculum reforms, initiated at Drexel in 1988, which use a holistic and interdisciplinary approach for undergraduates. The schools' engineering programs will also aim to increase the recruitment and retention of women, underrepresented minorities, and the disabled.
 "A changing global marketplace and our nation's shifting demographics necessitate restructuring technological education in America," said Drexel President Dr. Richard D. Breslin. "The NSF is placing a big responsibility on the coalition's shoulders. We at Drexel are grateful for the opportunity and prepared to meet the challenge."
 The Gateway Coalition, under the direction of Dr. Eli Fromm, Drexel's vice provost, will include these three focal points:
 -- Curriculum restructuring: The Gateway Coalition schools will adopt various aspects of Drexel's experimental undergraduate curriculum, initiated in 1988 and designed as a national model with the help of a five-year, $2.1 million NSF grant. This Drexel program emphasizes hands-on learning, with engineering students studying and designing in teams in state-of-the-art labs as early as their first week of college. The program integrates science fundamentals with engineering concepts in the freshman and sophomore years; the coalition will extend the integration of science and engineering into the second half of a typical four-year undergraduate curriculum.
 -- High-tech tools: The coalition will develop new learning tools, including satellite-linked classrooms, electronic notebooks using cellular phone networks, and new software.
 -- Recruitment and retention: The Gateway Coalition will develop new programs to make the study of engineering more attractive, exciting and fulfilling. This will include encouraging high school and transfer students, particularly women and underrepresented minorities, to consider engineering careers. The schools will also strengthen instruction that prepares students for the demands of the working world.
 According to Fromm, "There is a growing awareness in the American engineering community that U.S. engineering education needs changing. Traditional programs emphasize the initial study of theories along narrowly defined subjects without drawing the connections between the various concepts. The coalition will develop programs that are more multidisciplinary, with early applications experience. The Gateway name was adopted because the coalition's mission is to open new, broader gateways for learning."
 Fromm added that the coalition's goal of better preparing tomorrow's engineers to address the environmental, economic, and social challenges associated with technological progress will strengthen U.S. technological innovation and economic competitiveness.
 The NSF also announced a five-year, $15 million grant to establish a second, nine-member coalition headquartered at North Carolina State University-Raleigh. The second new coalition, SUCCEED (Southeastern University and College Coalition for Engineering Education) includes Clemson University, Florida A&M University/Florida State University, the University of Florida, Georgia Institute of Technology, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina State University-Raleigh, the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
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 /CONTACT: Philip Terranova, 215-895-1891, or at home, 609-728-8659, or Dave Mueller, 215-895-2705, or at home, 215-948-4595, both of Drexel University/ CO: Drexel University; The National Science Foundation ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


KA -- PH005 -- 8466 03/16/92 16:40 EST
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Date:Mar 16, 1992
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