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

Leading the News

Georgia To Introduce Career-Path Assessment System In All High Schools.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/25) reported the Georgia Board of Education approved a contract on Thursday to implement the start-up company YouScience’s online career-path assessment system in all high schools. The Georgia Department of Education and the Technical College System of Georgia will spend up to $790,000 if all high school students in the state decide to take the test. The Journal-Constitution noted that YouScience garnered widespread support when it was piloted across the state, in part because teachers “and industry leaders say too many youths meander after high school, either switching from major to major in college and perhaps never graduating, or working low-wage jobs before turning to a technical college for marketable skills.”

Higher Education

NSF Funds Use Of Drones To Research Effects Of Eclipse.

KETV-TV Share to FacebookShare to Twitter Omaha, NE (8/25) reports on University of Nebraska researchers who were using drones during the solar eclipse “conducting studies on what would happen to the atmosphere if a natural or man-made disaster suddenly shut off the sun’s radiation on Earth.” They said their studies “can show if and how the atmosphere changes very rapidly, and help our understanding of how the atmosphere responds when it is perturbed in a significant way.” In addition to Nebraska researchers, there were also “researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,” and Oklahoma State University. The effort was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Syracuse Professor Gets NSF Grant To Study Gig Economy.

The Central New York Business Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/25, Reinhardt) reports Syracuse University professor Steven Sawyer has been awarded a $52,000 NSF grant “to study how people pursue work in the gig economy, and what challenges they need to overcome to be successful.” He is focused on “workers from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Gates Foundation Gives VCU School Of Engineering $25M To Start New Institute.

The Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/24, O’Connor) reported that “the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering $25 million to create the Medicines for All Institute, a program that will seek ways to make life-saving medications less costly and more available worldwide.” The Times-Dispatch added that “the grant – which is the largest the university has ever received from a private entity – was announced Thursday at an event held at the Biotechnology Research Park’s Biotech Eight building on North Fifth Street, where the institute has set up a 30,000-square-foot space.” The article also stated that “Frank Gupton – chair of the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering at the School of Engineering – will lead the institute as it seeks ways to make medications to treat HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases more accessible by reducing the manufacturing cost.”

Two Major Coding Schools Closing.

The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/24, Lohr, Subscription Publication) reports that “two large schools” offering the promise of teaching students “how to code in a few months” are closing “despite backing by major for-profit education companies, Kaplan and the Apollo Education Group.” That, says the Times, indicates there may be “a boot-camp glut, and that the field could be in the early stages of a shakeout.” The first, Dev Bootcamp, had “six schools with more than 3,000 graduates” and was purchased by Kaplan three years ago. The second, The Iron Yard, was backed by Apollo and had “15 campuses, from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C.” This year, there are “more than 90” coding “boot camp schools” with “nearly 23,000” graduates.

New York Scholarship Program Draws Many More Applicants Than Expected.

The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/25, Chen, Subscription Publication) reports 75,000 New Yorkers have applied for the state’s Excelsior Scholarship program, rather than the expected 23,000. The scholarships are intended “to make college tuition-free for some students at New York’s public colleges and universities.” The result is that “roughly two-thirds of those who applied won’t get help,” either because they are not eligible, given a family income cap of $100,000, or because they lack the grades needed, “or their schooling had been interrupted in the past for work or personal reasons.” The Times adds, “it’s students who need the money the most who might have the hardest time meeting these requirements.” Others argue that a focus on tuition, leaves out poorer students who may have challenges covering living expenses.

Community College President Says Policymakers Need To Be Aware Of Real State Of College Students.

Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, New York, writes in the New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/28, Mellow, Subscription Publication) that over 40 percent of US college students attend community colleges and “only 62 percent can afford to go to college full-time.” In addition, “over half of all undergraduates live at home to make their degrees more affordable, and a shocking 40 percent of students work at least 30 hours a week.” Mellow adds “a quarter of undergraduates are older than 25.” According to Mellow, while “the majority of our country’s low-income, first-generation students” are at community colleges, “public funding for community colleges is significantly less than for four-year colleges.” She argues that recognizing the situation of these college students is necessary to adjust public policies to help them.

New Career Development Program: Streamlined Course Design
In October 2017, ASEE launches Streamlined Course Design, a new, instructor-led, interactive program, developed to streamline course design and produce effective courses. Led by Drs. Karl Smith and Ruth Streveler, this program is held over eight weeks, with four seperate 2.5-hour sessions. Register to (re)design one of your current courses with continuous input and guidance from expert facilitators and fellow participants. The ASEE members price is only $495. Learn more about the program on the ASEE website and join us for a free informational webinar about the program on September 15th at 2pm, ET.

International Activities
Learn more about the ASEE Global Colloquium in the Azores, Sept. 16-18.

See ASEE’s growing list of international partners.

Research and Development

“Drone Cage” Under Construction At Virginia Tech To Be Used For Autonomous UAS Testing.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/26, Demmitt) reports on the “new drone cage” at Virginia Tech “promising students and researchers a place to go when they want to push the boundaries on new technologies outside of what is allowed in public airspace.” The director of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership at Virginia Tech, Mark Blanks, says the research cage, when completed, will be a hub for autonomous drone tests that would otherwise require waiting for months to receive a permit from FAA to conduct the tests in public airspace. The story mentions that while the University “has a history of working with the FAA to get approval for experimental flights…that process usually takes about six months.”


Iowa Officials Press Training For “Middle Skills” Jobs.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/26, Ryan) reports that Iowa policymakers industry leaders want more of the state’s young workers to be given the opportunity to explore “so-called ‘middle skills’ jobs – those requiring additional training beyond high school but less than a four-year college degree.” The article states that “more than half of all Iowa jobs are for middle-skilled workers, but only one-third of Iowa workers are prepared to fill those positions, leaving a skills gap that spans multiple industries, according to a 2015 Iowa Workforce Development report.” The AP adds that Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has supported “the state’s Future Ready Iowa initiative set a goal to have 70 percent of Iowa’s labor force earn training beyond high school by 2025.”

Tennessee Schools Offer Ways Into Construction Industry.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/27) reports on the “many roads into the construction industry” adding that “students don’t have to go straight from high school into construction work” though they may. There are also other ways. Middle Tennessee State University offers a major in commercial construction management. The state’s “colleges of applied technology currently offer certificate programs in welding and other skilled construction trades” while “community colleges offer associate’s degree programs in construction- and engineering-related fields” and four-year schools, including the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Tennessee Technological University, Tennessee State University and University of Memphis, “offer civil engineering programs.”

Industry News

South Carolina Leads States In Use Of Robot Technology In Manufacturing.

The Charleston (SC) Post and Courier Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/27, Wren) reports that “robots are taking over many of the tasks humans used to perform in industries such as aircraft and vehicle manufacturing, with South Carolina one of the most notable examples of the nationwide growth in automation.” The Post and Courier adds that South Carolina “ranks No. 7 nationally with 21 percent annual growth in the number of workplace robots between 2010 and 2015, according to The Brookings Institution,” and adds that “as of 2015, the latest statistics available, there were 3.2 robots for every 1,000 workers in South Carolina’s industrial settings.” The article also points out that “a recent report by economists at MIT and Boston University suggests that a single new robot in a manufacturing setting can reduce employment by up to one-third of a percentage point per 1,000 workers and trim wages by up to a half-percent.”

HP, Deloitte Announce Partnership On Additive Manufacturing.

IndustryWeek Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/25, LaWell) reported that “HP and Deloitte have formed what they call an alliance, this one hinged on additive manufacturing.” The article quoted HP CEO and president Dion Weisler and Deloitte global CEO Punit Renjen announcing the arrangement between the two companies, both of which “are relatively new to additive manufacturing.” Weisler is quoted saying, “There is a way to make a very broad impact on the way companies all around the world design, procure, manufacture and deliver their products to customers all over the world. Everything that’s going on with connected factories, with AI, with robotics, with 3-D printing – all those things, when you combine them enable manufacturing to happen anywhere in the world.” Renjen is quoted saying, “We’re here to change a $12 trillion industry that is ripe for disruption,” and added, “that disruption has three dimensions: speed, from design, to prototyping, all the way to manufacturing; flexibility, so you can custom manufacture; and then efficiency.”

Engineering and Public Policy

EPA Planning 10 Meetings To Get Input On Rewriting WOTUS Rule.

The Hill Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/25, Cama) reported the EPA “is planning 10 public hearings to gather input” in its effort to rewrite the Obama Administration’s WOTUS rule. Nine of the sessions “will be dedicated to specific interests like agriculture, construction, conservation and energy, and one will be for the general public.” The second part of that process “is to write a new regulation. President Trump has directed the agencies to write a more business-friendly rule that follows an opinion Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in 2006 that would be far more restrictive on the federal government than the previous rule.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

More Schools Use Technology To Individualize Education.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/27, Danilova) reports on the use of technology to identify weaknesses in a student’s understanding and then focusing on those weaknesses. The AP adds that ED, under the Obama Administration “poured $500 million into personalized learning programs in 68 school districts” and other organizations “have also invested heavily” in the area. According to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, “up to 10 percent of all America’s public schools have adopted some form of personalized learning.” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos “also embraces personalized learning.” Yet, “a recent study by the Rand Corporation found that personalized learning produced modest improvements.”

Indiana Schools Win Green Ribbon Award.

The Goshen (IN) News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/26, Kline) reports the Bethany Christian Schools on Friday celebrated its “recent selection as a 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award winner.” Bethany’s Kevin Miller said the award was presented at “a special ceremony in Washington D.C. on July 19.” He added, “Bethany is among just 45 schools nationwide honored” with the award. In renovating school buildings the schools installed an HVAC system that used “a geothermal wellfield” and installed “a 3.6-kilowatt wind turbine; and 300 solar panels that can provide 77 kilowatts of electricity.” Other changes were made to increase efficiency. The schools also adopted “a farm-to-school initiative.”

Philadelphia School District Wins Green Ribbon For Environmental Plan.

Philly (PA) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/27, Graham) reports the Philadelphia School District received a 2017 US Department of Education Green Ribbon for having “tackled — in a serious and systemwide way — reducing its environmental impact.” Environmental director for the district, Francine Locke, explained the results included “energy bills reduced, recycling programs launched, and blacktop yards transformed to green places for children to play.” The district established “GreenFutures,” a “five-year sustainability plan that has goals for conserving resources, decreasing consumption and waste, creating healthy indoor environments, and more.” The plan included “rain gardens in some schools; nine schoolyards greened; a plan to install more energy-efficient LED lights at schools throughout the city; $1 million spent to install hydration stations for safe, clean water; decluttering projects to reduce asthma triggers at every school; and school-led recycling projects.” It has reduced its annual electricity bills from $65 million to $35 million.

Texas District Opens New Career And Technical Center.

The Dallas Morning News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/25, Leszcynski) reports on Monday’s opening of Garland IDS’s “$30 million” Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center. The center will offer “cybersecurity courses. A robotic arm. Laser engraving and a 3-D printer. A fashion design lab.” The center will host juniors and seniors for “a half day, every other day,” after they have completed the relevant coursework at their own schools. It even has a “manufacturing engineering lab…one of many high-tech classrooms” and the center as a whole will offer “more than 90 advanced-level courses and over 60 new courses for juniors and seniors.”

Friday’s Lead Stories

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