News Update :: Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Project Views Impact of Globalization on Engineering Education

Universities that are serious about their engineering programs must intensify their internationalization efforts if they want to keep pace with globalization and the growing complexity of worldwide distribution chains. This assertion comes from the initial findings of a study by a group of eight universities and an automotive parts manufacturer.

The study was initiated by Continental AG under the auspices of its Global Engineering Excellence project to study the perspectives of engineers on the impact of engineering education on new, globalized economies. Concrete recommendations are to be formulated during a project meeting at the Tsinghua University in Beijing at the end of June. Full findings will be presented during a two-day event with the participating universities on November 9 and 10 in Frankfurt.

The results compiled so far indicate that there is a tight intermeshing between economic globalization and the changes in requirements for an engineering education. The professors involved in the project uniformly concluded that, as a consequence, a tight intermeshing of the research and development departments is also essential in a global society in which value added chains and distribution channels are permanently expanding and changing.

“The trends in a globally networked economy must be reflected in the education concepts at universities,” said Prof. Bernd Widdig from MIT. He called for “close coordination and intensive cooperation between the engineering and science branches – at a world-wide level.” Prof. Reiner Anderl of the Technical University of Darmstadt, which is heading the study, summed it up by saying that “the goal can only be a globally-oriented engineering program.” For more information, click here.

Microsoft Names Five Profs “Essential” to Academic Computing

Microsoft Inc. named five more professors to its new-faculty fellowship program. These are people it considers “essential to the future of academic computing.” The five – two women and three men – were chosen from a group of 100 professors from universities throughout North America. Each will each receive a $200,000 cash award over a two-year period to assist in his or her research. The recipients are also given an opportunity to collaborate with researchers working in their area of interest at Microsoft Research.

The five fellows are:

  • Regina Barzilay, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, whose research focuses on computational modeling of linguistic phenomena.
  • Aaron Hertzmann, assistant professor of computer science at the University of Toronto, who is working on building simulated models for computer animation.
  • Scott Klemmer, assistant professor of computer science, Stanford University, who is focusing on enhancing human-computer interaction by creating tools to enable a prototyping culture.
  • Eddie Kohler, assistant professor of computer science, University of California, Los Angeles, whose vision is based on innovative synthesis of basic systems research and component-based programming language techniques.
  • Fei-Fei Li, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who is interested in making machines see like humans.
Jeannette Wing, a member of the application review committee and head of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon praised the winners. “These young faculty show passion for their research, have a clear vision of what they want to achieve, and understand how their work contributes not just to science, but to society,” she said. For more information, click here.

College Dangles iTunes Downloads as Recruiting Incentive

Saint Joseph College, Connecticut’s only four-year women’s college, is offering targeted high school juniors in the Northeastern U.S. three free iTunes downloads in exchange for registering on the school’s admissions Web site. The offer is included in a letter to the prospects, which gives them a special code for accessing the downloads.

Alan Chesterton, associate vice president for admission and enrollment services at Saint Joseph, stressed that the college did not want to spam candidates but rather to provide them information based on interests identified in their profile. “One of our biggest challenges within higher education admissions is to maintain up-to-date contact information for prospective students,” he said. “We do not intend to send students spam or unwanted e-mails…We simply want to make it easier for prospective students to learn about the opportunities available to them….”

Stephanie Geyer, an executive consultant with N'el-Levitz, an enrollment management services firm, said she believed the use of iTunes as an incentive was probably unique. “We have yet to see a college or university in the United States utilize Apple’s iTunes in their search strategy for prospective students,” she said. “It’s a groundbreaking idea that should result in a significant response and strong inquiries for Saint Joseph College.” For more information click here.

MP3 Players, Cell Phones, I.M. Join Campus Cheating Arsenal

College and university administrators have had to intensify their battle against cheating on campus, which has gotten extremely sophisticated as students enlist the latest electronic gadgets to beat the system, according to a report in the New York Times. Higher ed administrators told the newspaper of incidents involving students who load notes onto the Sidekick portable e-mail device; students who preprogram calculators with formulas; and students who use MP3 players, cell phones, and other wireless technologies to cheat.

In one case cited by the Times, a student dictated notes into a portable music player and tried to listen to them during an exam. In another case, students photographed test questions during an exam with a camera phone and sent them wirelessly to colleagues outside the classroom who sent answers back via text-messaging. In response, institutions are using both high-tech and low-tech strategies, the Times reported, including requiring students surrender their cell phones and MP3 players before an exam or resorting to pen and paper tools.

“One of the things that we’re going to be paying close attention to as time g'es on is the use of iPods,” UCLA associate dean Brian Carlisle told the Times, adding that with a wireless earpiece, these would be hard to detect. For more information, click here [free registration required].

Blog to Launch for Updates on New College Library Database

The developers of a resource for listing core academic titles deemed essential by college librarians are launching a blog to keep the higher-ed library community up-to-date on the project, as well as to educate users on the talent pool that contributes to developing the database in various subject matter disciplines.

The new Resources for College Libraries (RCL), a collaboration of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and bibliographic database provider Bowker Inc., will be the successor to the classic reference work, Books for College Libraries (BCL), published in 1988. The new RCL resource will debut this fall as both a Web-based subscription service and a multi-volume print offering. It will feature a list of more than 50,000 books and electronic resources spanning all undergraduate liberal arts and sciences subject areas.

Bowker, which owns the Books-in-Print line of reference tools, said it would launch a blog for the project that will allow some of the world’s most highly regarded library professionals to post updates on progress on individual subject areas being developed for the new database. For more information, click here.
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