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Dean Paul S. Peercy: Academic initiatives

Student poster session

Freshmen discuss their engineering solutions during a poster session toward the end of their Introduction to Society's Engineering Grand Challenges course.

Peercy continues to lead the college in rethinking engineering education in order to prepare graduates to thrive in a rapidly changing global economy. He launched Engineering Beyond Boundaries (EB2), which provides incentives for faculty and staff to expand the culture of teaching innovation. Awards support faculty who are going “beyond the boundaries” of academic disciplines; beyond the traditional classroom through learning technology; and beyond the state and nation through international programs. In five years, EB2 has funded 42 projects, with most covering multidisciplinary perspectives and technology to facilitate learning. 

One of EB2’s biggest success stories is the freshman introductory course, Introduction to Society's Engineering Grand Challenges. Introduced in 2008, this course introduces aspiring engineers to the National Academy of Engineering’s “grand challenges,” or 13 areas where engineers will greatly influence the world. The course engages students immediately in the real-world, problem-solving nature of engineering. The course is now taught campus-wide to more than 300 students and is being adapted to Wisconsin middle schools.
EB2 also funded new certificate programs in liberal studies and sustainability; funded efforts to digitize dozens of popular design lectures; and funded a new summer program at Zhejiang University in China.

As part of Peercy's focus on instructional innovation, the college has seen major gains in blended online and traditional instruction, giving students greater learning flexibility and more interactive classroom time. Peercy has set a goal of attaining lecture capture and online deployment of 75 percent of all college core courses over the next five years. 

Brian Mattmiller
2/8/2012