ASEE First Bell – Breaking news in the engineering and technology field

August 14, 2014

Leading the News

Google, Johns Hopkins Partnering To Hasten Students’ Ideas To Market.

The Baltimore Business Journal (8/12, Subscription Publication) reports that Johns Hopkins University is partnering with Google to help “researchers and students looking to get their ideas out of the lab and into the market.” The article quotes Ed Schlesinger, the dean of Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering, saying “This speaks to a broader point of view that our School of Engineering is committed to giving our faculty and students the resources they need to translate what they do in the lab and on this campus into things that have real impact in people’s lives.”

       InTheCapital (DC) (8/11) reports that under the arrangement, Johns Hopkins “will help the search engine titan speed up the development of new technology and move the resulting products toward commercialization at a faster pace.” Under the deal, Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group “will draw on the advanced skills of Johns Hopkins computer scientists and other outstanding faculty,” enabling the group “to also approve funds for joint technology projects in as few as 30 days.”

Higher Education

Stanford Professor First Woman To Win Prestigious Math Prize.

Bloomberg News (8/13, Blessing) reports that Stanford University professor Maryam Mirzakhani “became the first woman awarded the Fields Medal, the top international prize in mathematics” dubbed the “Nobel Prize of mathematics.” The piece notes that Mirzakhani was honored “for her work on geometry and dynamical systems.” The article notes that “mathematics has long been a field dominated by men.”

US Attorney Subpoenas Corinthian Documents.

The Los Angeles Times (8/13, Kirkham) reports that Corinthian Colleges Inc. has disclosed that the US Attorney’s office in Los Angeles has issued a grand jury subpoena seeking “documents and records on the company’s job placement rates, graduation rates, marketing materials and student loan default rates.” The Times presents this as “the latest in a string of headaches” for the firm, which last month entered into a deal with ED to sell or close its 107 campuses around the country.

       Noting that Corinthian is “in the process of selling or shutting its campuses,” Bloomberg News (8/13, Lorin) reports that the subpoena is seeking “records including student-loan defaults and job placement,” as well as “information on graduation rates, the transferability of student credits and marketing materials.” Bloomberg notes that the firm is “facing allegations in multiple states of falsifying job placement and marketing data,” and reports that its “downfall accelerated in June when” ED restricted its access to Federal student aid.

       The Chronicle of Higher Education (8/13) reports that Corinthian disclosed the subpoena in a regulatory filing, which also detailed “actions taken by states in recent months to regulate Corinthian’s enrollment of military veterans.”

Duncan Hosts Community College Leaders’ Remediation Meeting.

Inside Higher Ed (8/13) reports that Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other Administration officials hosted a meeting of leaders from “several dozen community colleges, nonprofit organizations, and other groups focused on college readiness” to discuss how best to address the need for college remediation. The piece quotes a White House official saying in an email that the event’s goal was to “discuss efforts to strengthen developmental education and explore effective strategies to improve success for students in need of developmental education.” The Youngstown (OH) Vindicator (8/13) reports that Laura Meeks, president of Eastern Gateway Community College in Youngstown, Ohio attended the event.

Universities Spend Money On Defense Lobbying.

Politico (8/13, Wright) reports that Universities are spend their money on defense lobbying in order to find money for research through defense department grants. In large part, it is schools with prevalent engineering programs who spend the most money on defense lobbying efforts. The article reports that schools bring in hundreds of millions of dollars every year through Defense Department contracts and grants, and describes the benefits some specific schools get from the contracts.

New ASEE-NAE Report on Barriers to Ethnic Diversity
Surmounting the Barriers” has recommendations for the university-level engineering and engineering technology education community to improve diversity.New Online STEM Sustainability Library
This on-line library of over 1700 juried articles and 300 videos was developed at James Madison University with NSF funding. The site provides resources for those researching or teaching sustainability across contexts.I-Corps for Learning
NSF will provide up to $1.2 million to support research into how the I-Corps program’s focus on the “ditch of death” between research and development can help address the gap associated with bringing a promising education practice to a common, widespread utilization. Learn more about participating in I-Corps for Learning. Proposals must be submitted by September 30, 2014 to be considered for participation in the January 2015 cohort.

Research and Development

NASA Selects 23 Small Business Proposals For Technology Transfer Program.

FierceGovernmentIT (8/14, McDermott) reported, “NASA selected 23 small business proposals to work on advanced technologies as a way to increase participation by such businesses and commercialize their research, according to an Aug. 8 statement by the space agency.” The businesses in NASA’s Small Business Technology Transfer Program “will enter into negotiations for possible contract awards,” which are worth up to a total of $17.2 million, as a result of the effort.

Special Camera Aboard ISS Will Study Meteor Showers.

Phys (8/14, Gaskill) reports on a forthcoming Meteor investigation aboard the ISS that will “spend two years recording meteor showers using a special camera installed in the station’s Window Observational Research Facility.” Viewing meteor showers in space “offers many advantages over traditional observation by ground- or aircraft-based instruments,” most notable being that space viewing is “not affected by weather or interference from Earth’s atmosphere” and instruments on Earth are limited “to short periods of observation time and viewing field, but the camera aboard the station will record for roughly 560 minutes every day.”


Virginia Governor Launches STEM-H Workforce Initiative.

The Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch (8/13, Kapsidelis) reports that Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) signed an executive order Wednesday to establish the New Virginia Economy Workforce Initiative and add some 50,000 new credentialed residents in STEM-H – “science, technology, engineering, math and health.” McAuliffe said some 1.4 million jobs will be opening in coming years and about half will be in STEM-H fields that will require post-secondary credentials. McAuliffe signed the order at a leadership summit of the Virginia Community College System. The report notes the “initiative would target ‘sub-baccalaureate’ credentials through a new Commonwealth Consortium for Advanced Research and Statistics to provide ‘real-time data’ to meet industry needs.”

Engineering and Public Policy

NAM President: EPA Ozone Rules Would Cost $270 Billion Per Year.

In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal (8/14, Timmons, Subscription Publication) titled, “The EPA’s Latest Threat To Economic Growth: The Agency’s Needless New Ozone Standard Could Cost Americans $270 Billion Annually,” Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, notes that the EPA has proposed lowering the permissible level of ozone in the air from 75 parts per billion, a standard set in 2008, to 60 parts per billion. According to Timmons, the EPA has previously estimated that it will cost $90 billion per year to reach 60 ppb. However, Timmons points to a new study prepared for NAM by NERA Economic Consulting, which concluded that the annual compliance cost would actually be $270 billion.

Chevron Confirms Hold On Hawaiian Renewable Energy Projects.

Bloomberg News (8/13, Elgin) reports that Chevron spokesman Kent Robertson has “confirmed that the company has put its Hawaiian solar plants on hold.” The two projects at its Kapolei refinery in West Oahu, Hawaii, included a solar panel farm spanning nearly “five acres, supplying as much as 1 megawatt of electricity to the local utility.” The company has also tabled “a demonstration solar thermal project, which would have covered about 15 acres and used mirrors to generate steam to help power the Hawaii refinery.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

Detroit Students In Program To Become “Next Generation Of IT Professionals.”

WWJ-TV Detroit (8/13, Cardenas) reports that 42 students who are part of an eight-week Experience IT training program “may soon be on their way to a new career” as “the next generation of IT professionals.” Derek Turner, project manager for the program, said it was the equivalent of a “workforce development boot camp” that taught “the skills that Detroit businesses are looking for the most,” including “.Net, Java, SQL Server, MY SQL, and PHP” as well as soft career skills such as “interpersonal communication, working in teams and job interviews.” Experience IT was launched by a partnership of area companies.

Phillips Gives Oklahoma District $1.7M For New STEM Labs.

The AP (8/13) reports from Oklahoma that the Bartlesville Public Schools will receive a $1.7 million grant from oil refiner Phillips 66 to create new STEM labs for three campuses. The grant is among the largest given to a school district by the Houston-based company, according to chairman and CEO Greg Garland, who said the company wants “to create a place where our students will come and be excited, be challenged and hopefully be encouraged to follow a career at a place like Phillips 66.” The AP describes how the grant will be used by Bartlesville High School, and Madison and Central middle schools.

New Chesterfield County, Virginia Career And Technical Center Will Open.

The Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch (8/12, Ramsey) reports that a new career and technical center for Chesterfield County will be ready by the time school opens, with renovations finishing on the old Clover Hill High School. The 197,000-square-foot building will host 11 courses, including a first-of-its-kind for Virginia logistics course and others such as “culinary arts, physical therapy and barbering.” Executive principal David Eshelman said demand for courses left many students unable to get into the existing Chesterfield Technical Center, and many courses the new center will offer are already full. The new center will also offer Academy 360, a catch-up program for eighth graders.


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