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Foundation Coalition seeks to prepare a new generation of engineers

UW-Madison has joined six other academic institutions in the NSF Foundation Coalition, a program designed to better prepare future engineers through strengthening students' educational foundations.

John W. Mitchell

John W. Mitchell (large image)

"The main thrust of the coalition is developing a responsive curriculum," says Mechanical Engineering Professor John W. Mitchell, UW-Madison's representative to the national organization's management team. "We must continually respond to constituents' needs -- assessing the engineering curriculum and making it more effective. We need to link and integrate all parts of the curriculum. The idea is to get as many faculty as possible involved in making these changes."

Since joining the coalition in October, the Madison group has held workshops on learning communities and faculty development. On April 7 and 8, it will host another Madison workshop for faculty at other coalition schools interested in learning more about the techniques, tools and plans of assessment and evaluation.

Every week for about an hour and a half, Mitchell converses by phone with his counterparts at the other participating schools. They meet in person about every two months. Foundation Coalition Logo

Serving with Mitchell on the College of Engineering's executive committee for this program are Associate Dean Michael L. Corradini, Assistant Dean Donald C. Woolston, Adjunct Assistant Professor Sandra Shaw Courter and Sarah K.A. Pfatteicher, the college's assessment director.

Additionally, a UW-Madison inter-departmental team is developing a curriculum to more effectively link courses. The group includes Professor Art Ellis (chemistry), Professor Wesley Smith (physics), Professor John Strikwerda (computer sciences), Professor Robert Wilson (mathematics), Associate Professor Teresa M. Adams (civil engineering), Associate Professor James P. Blanchard (engineering physics), Professor Patrick V. Farrell (mechanical engineering), lecturer Laura Grossenbacher (engineering professional development) and teaching assistant Kris Cummings (engineering physics).

The other members of the Foundation Coalition are Arizona State University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M - Kingsville, the University of Alabama and the University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth.

More information about the NSF Foundation Coalition is available at www.foundationcoalition.org.

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