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

Leading the News

Texas A&M And Houston Methodist Hospital Announce Engineering And Medicine Program.

The Houston Chronicle Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/24, Wermund) reports on Friday, Texas A&M University and Houston Methodist hospital “announced a partnership” to train students in the new engineering and medicine program “to become inventors and entrepreneurs.” The students are trained as physicians and engineers and are expected to produce a “transformational” invention by graduation where they will receive degrees in medicine and engineering. Among ideas for “transformational” inventions were suggested “regenerating limbs and organs, robots to help with surgery, sensors” to supply information directly from patients to physicians. A&M Engineering Dean Katherine Banks said, “This program is much more than just an academic program. This is a program to truly transform healthcare.” The school will focus on commercialization of ideas. A&M plans to begin enrolling students for fall 2017. The school will add 25 faculty and assign “75,000 square feet of instructional and research space in the Texas Medical Center.”

Higher Education

Cedarville Seeks Fourth Title At ASEE.

The Dayton (OH) Daily News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/24) reports the Cedarville University robotics team is seeking its “fourth straight national title in this year’s Autonomous Robotics Competition at the American Society of Engineering Education Conference in New Orleans on Monday.” The competition challenges the teams to build “robots that can deposit one ring in each of 12 boxes located along the ‘parade route’ on a specified track.”

Federal Agency Votes To Remove Power From College Accrediting Agency.

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/24, Douglas-Gabriel) reports in a 10 to 3 vote on Thursday, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity has barred the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools from it’s ability to operate as “gatekeeper between colleges and billion of dollars in federal financial aid.” The move comes amid criticism from lawmakers that the committee has been lax inn overseeing schools, allowing those “under investigation for fraud or with rock-bottom graduation rates receive millions of dollars in federal loans and grants, putting students and taxpayers at risk.” The final decision, however, in the council’s ability to serve as an accrediting agency will be made by the Education Department within the next 90 days.

IDEA Lab At Red Rocks Community College Gives Students Chance To Address Real Problems.

The Denver Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/24, Rein) reports “YourHub” blog on the IDEA Lab at Red Rocks Community College. The school has a transfer agreement in engineering with the Colorado School of Mines, which attracts many non-traditional and first-generation college students. The lab is led by Jeremy Beard, a professional engineer and graduate student at the Colorado School of Mines, who is also an instructor of engineering design at RRCC. He said the lab allows students “to create solutions that will go out of the Lab and serve a real purpose.” One design was a drone to develop maps of landslides in Guatemala, helping to “reduce residents’ risk.” Other projects have helped improve farms in Mali through weather analysis and developing a solar-powered well pump, and developed a Mobile Medical Disaster Relief Dispensation Unit.

LSU I-Corps Focused On Teaching Students How To Help Business Solve Problems.

The Baton Rouge (LA) Advocate Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/24, Griggs) reports on the LSU Innovation Corps program which is designed to teach faculty and graduate students working in STEM fields how to focus their work on solving a recognized need and to commercialize the technology. Andrew Maas, LSU assistant vice president for research, said, “If we can teach faculty how to educate students how to think in a business world, that can have some huge, long-term impacts.” The program offers up to $3,000 to a team working on a problem that can “cover travel costs for visits to potential customers who can validate a concept.” The program is supported by the National Science Foundation.

Citadel Offers Scholarship For STEM Graduates To Teach In High-Need Districts.

The Charleston (SC) Post and Courier Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/24, Pan) reports The Citadel is offering scholarships for two years worth of tuition in its Master of Arts in Teaching program for college graduates with a degree in a STEM major who will “commit to teaching science or math for two years in local high-need school districts.”

Coding Bootcamps Move Towards Third-Party Evaluations.

The Christian Science Monitor Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/25, Lewontin) reports on the value of “coding bootcamps” for students seeking to “break into the lucrative tech world.” While they claim “job placements as high as 98 or 99 percent” after “as little as 12 weeks” they also cost “as much as $14,000” and are not accredited. Among these programs, “only the Flatiron School has released an audited report” of graduation and placement rates. That audit “reported a 99 percent graduation rate,” a 55 percent placement rate at 30 days, and a 98 percent rate at 120 days. Third party evaluation is expected to become more important for such institutions in order for them to become eligible for federal student aid.

NEW REPORT on the Future of Making
ASEE convened leaders from the Maker Movement in November to discuss the current state and future of Making. Read the report.

Summer Prism Now Online
ASEE members can access the new Prism magazine online. Topics include research opportunities opening up with a thaw in US-Cuba relations and proposed changes to ABET criteria, among much more.

Prism Wins Awards
ASEE’s flagship publication won two APEX awards, one for our entire October 2015 issue and one for assistant editor Jenn Pocock’s story on female entrepreneurs.

Research and Development

Swiss Students Set Acceleration Record For Electric Car.

BBC News (UK) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/23) reports the grimsel electric car designed and built by 30 students at ETH Zurich and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts at Lucerne surpassed the world record in acceleration by a battery-powered vehicle set last year by a team from the University of Stuttgart. The Swiss team’s car reached 100 kph in 1.513 seconds, down from Stuttgart’s 1.779 kph, reaching that speed in 30m of track.

MegaFace Challenge Hopes To Bring Face Recognition Algorithms To Global Scale.

The Daily Mail Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/24, MacDonald) reports on the University of Washington’s MegaFace Challenge for face recognition algorithms, finding that such systems work “in a crowd of thousands with near-perfect accuracy” but are less effective at the level of one million faces. The challenge is intended to address “crucial problems” such as identifying people “across different ages and poses.” UW assistant professor of computer science Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman, who is leading the project, said “We need to test facial recognition on a planetary scale to enable practical applications.” Google’s FaceNet had “near-perfect scores” in the smaller test, but declined to 75 percent with the larger test, while Russia’s N-TechLab scored 73 percent, and others “dropped to as low as 33 percent accuracy.”


Canadian Business Leaders Looking For “Soft Skills.”

The Globe and Mail (CAN) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/24, Galt) reports on a study, Developing Canada’s Future Workforce, from Aon Hewitt and the Business Council of Canada, finding that Canada’s CEOs are seeking more “so-called soft skills such as collaboration, problem-solving and communication,” and recognize “that many of these skills are learned outside the traditional classroom setting.” It is suggested that in addition to “co-op placements and internships” job candidates may profit from “volunteer activities and community involvement.”

Toyota Mississippi Works With Teachers To Give Eighth-Grade Students A Look At Manufacturing.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/24, Crawford) reports on a program at Toyota Mississippi in which the company is “bringing small groups of teachers to the plant in Blue Springs for tours throughout the summer” in preparation for student tours for eighth grade students. The teachers are offering ideas to improve the tours in which they “hit the plant floor in golf carts to see how a Corolla is made.” They were able to see “the technology and skill” used to build the cars. Toyota spokeswoman Kathryn Ragsdale said, “We want them to see that the Toyota plant and manufacturing is a really great option for a career,” adding, “We’re trying to develop our workforce.” She also said the company hopes the tours will help “change the traditional perception of manufacturing as an undesirable job.” Toyota is also using the tours to promote the company’s programs including the Automated Manufacturing Technology program in which students “work, train and attend school.”

Global Developments

AEG, Mashaka Foundation Install Solar-Powered Lighting In Tanzanian Village.

The Daily News (TZA) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/23) reports on the Firefly solar technology used in a project in Manila, Tanzania by American Engineering Group Limited (AEG) and Mashaka Foundation. Residents said the new solar powered lighting keeps away hyenas and “has enabled primary and secondary school students to study in the evening.” AEG developed the power system after studying the area and then after installing it also trained residents “to handle any emerging technical problems.”

Industry News

GE To Add 300 Employees At Digital Hub Near Detroit.

The Detroit Free Press Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/25, Dolan) reports General Electric is adding 300 employees at its GE Digital Hub in Michigan between Detroit and Ann Arbor. The company was approved for “a state tax credit valued at up to $73.9 million over 12 years,” amid original plans to build to “1,200 jobs and 1,600 spin-off positions.” The hub now has 850 with plans to add 300, and is “one of the largest concentration of tech talent in the world for GE,” according to Joy Fewell, the chief information officer at the site. It is part of GE’s effort “to become one of the premier software companies for industrial uses.” It is targeted it at “designing new technology and processes for ‘brilliant manufacturing.’” The new employees will include “software engineers, front-end developers, solution architects, controls engineers and staffers in project management information-technology risk/compliance & security.”

Rowan University Engineering Students Build Pipeline Database For Water Company.

Philly (PA) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/26, Lai) reports on a partnership between Rowan University, Hopeworks ‘N Camden, and New Jersey American Water to build a database to enable the water company “to precisely locate pipes and valves, predict problems, and guide maintenance and development work.” The effort involves scanning pages of written notes and inputting the information into the database. The database will end the need for employees to work with “massive paper books” that were “filled with post-it notes and inaccuracies.” The project is being led by Rowan engineering professor Rouzbeh Nazari and will convert around 800,000 paper records to the database. It is funded by a $95,000 grant from the water company. It also makes use of mapping software the engineering students are taught in a freshman course, but as one student said, “You don’t really get to understand that until you really work with it.”

Silicon Valley Adopting Chiefs Of Staff.

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/24, Dwoskin, Francisco) reports a Washington institution has increasingly taken hold within Silicon Valley companies, which has long eschewed Washington “as a place where good ideas go to die.” According to the Post, Silicon Valley companies are increasingly creating “chiefs of staff,” which it says reflects the “evolution of the start-up boom: Companies have gotten bigger, often very quickly, and they’re seeking more organization and hierarchy as a result.” Accordingly chiefs of staff “control access to the people every entrepreneur wants to meet” and are with company executives from morning to night. The Post indicates the chiefs of staffs hold group meetings regularly to “compare notes” on everything from running meetings to breaking into new markets.

New Edition Now Available! Elements of Propulsion: Gas Turbines and Rockets, Second Edition by Jack D. Mattingly and Keith M. Boyer. This seminal textbook has been updated and revised, including a new chapter on compressible flow. List price: $119.95, AIAA member price: $89.95.

Engineering and Public Policy

Justice Department May Appeal Overturned Fracking Rule.

The Hill Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/24, Cama) reports the Justice Department on Friday filed a notice “asking the Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit” in Wyoming to reconsider a decision from earlier in the week that overturned fracking regulations by the Interior Department. The Hill indicates the Justice Department has not yet decided if they will appeal. Judge Scott Skavdahl’s ruling that the Interior Department does not have the authority to regulate fracking “was a major loss for Obama, his environmental agenda and his first attempt at national fracking standards.”

India Continues To Get Most H-1B Visas Even With Fee Hike.

The Times of India Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/24) reports US Ambassador to India Richard Verma speaking on the sidelines of “The Future is Now: From COP21 to Reality” conference in Hyderabad, India, said that even with a fee increase, India is getting “the lion’s share of H-1B and L1…they continue to get 70% of those H-1B visas.” The new fee is “$4,000 on certain categories of H-1B visas and $4,500 on L1 visas,” meaning that “almost all Indian IT companies would be paying between $8,000 and $10,000 per H-1B visa.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

Baltimore Community College Partners With High Schools To Offer STEM Education.

Gordon F. May, president and CEO of Baltimore City Community College, writes in the Baltimore Sun Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/24), about BCCC as a Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) partner, in which it will “prepare and train high school students for careers in cutting-edge Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields with high earnings potential.” The school is partnering with two schools “located in low-income communities” as part of its effort “to get more women and minorities enrolled in one of our STEM programs.” The P-TECH program “combines high school and post-secondary curriculums with career training opportunities.” The graduates earn a high school diploma as well as an associate’s degree from BCCC.

Also in the News

Brexit Vote Seen As Danger To UK Engineering.

E&T Magazine Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/24, Pultarova) reports in response to the UK vote to leave the European Union, the Institution of Engineering and Technology is “calling for an immediate discussion on mitigating the presumed negative effects of the Brexit vote on the engineering sector.” There are concerns that British industry will have greater difficulty in recruiting and keeping engineers from EU countries. The expected period of uncertainty may also cause companies “especially in the technology sector, to consider relocating to the continent.”

Friday’s Lead Stories

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