Power Electronics

$10 Million Committed to Improve Undergraduate Engineering Education

Nine public colleges and universities in nine western states will receive William and Flora Hewlett Foundation grants to fund programs to improve the quality of undergraduate education in engineering and to increase the number of engineering graduates.

These Engineering Schools of the West Initiative grants, ranging from $750,000 to $1.1 million, will support programs to increase retention and recruitment efforts, and to improve student learning through better undergraduate teaching.

The nine schools are: Boise State University, Colorado School of Mines, Montana State University, New Mexico State University, Northern Arizona University, Oregon State University, University of Nevada, Reno, University of Utah, and the University of Wyoming.

These institutions, selected for a commitment to rigorous assessment and ability to sustain long-term outcomes, will collaborate to tackle such issues as new ways to assess student learning or how to provide students with a global orientation to engineering problems.

Schools were chosen in part because their programs had the potential of providing a significant “multiplier effect” leading to a change in the institution that would also be instructive to other colleges and universities, according to Initiative Director Richard Reis.

The three- to five-year grants will support programs ranging from summer projects that target high-school students from traditionally underrepresented groups to the development of team-based collaborative learning courses that mirror how engineering is done in industry. Others will develop curricula to help engineering students understand the ethical issues and responsibilities of professional engineers.

The awards are being made in honor of William Hewlett, co-founder of the Hewlett Packard Co. Mary Jaffe, Hewlett's daughter and Foundation board member, remembers her father saying that the graduates of the state engineering schools were the backbone of HP's success.

For more information, visit www.hewlett.org .

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