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Envisioned Master’s Programs in Making and Big Data Aim to Address Engineering's Skill and Diversity Gaps

Release Date:
9/23/2013 12:00 AM
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Sept. 23, 2013

Queens, N.Y. -- A team of innovators and globally recognized technology and educational leaders, founded as New Engineering University (“NEU”), announced on Sunday, Sept. 22 at the Maker Faire in New York City that they will join creative and intellectual forces to develop programs in partnership with UNH to re-engineer engineering education in Big Data and create the nation’s first degree in Making that builds on the phenomenon of the Maker Movement.

The programs will be designed to foster unmatched diversity in engineering education and deliver an industry-connected experience to meet hiring needs in growing sectors of the economy. The first program is targeted to be a one-year Master of Engineering degree in Big Data to be offered at a Maker space-like facility in Palo Alto, Calif. 

Early supporters for the program including MAKE, the drivers of the Maker Movement; the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media, led by the Academy Award-winning actor; Codecademy, the online coding platform; and GoldieBlox, the celebrated female-targeted engineering toy company, are just some of the groups that will reach out to their extensive networks of engineers to identify candidates for the inaugural class. 

NEU, Geena Davis, group, 500px
Left to right: James McCoy, UNH VP for Enrollment Management; Geena Davis; Ronald S. Harichandran, Dean of UNH's Tagliatela College of Engineering; and Daniel May, UNH Provost and SVP of Academic Affairs

Davis said at the announcement at the Maker Faire that not enough women are attracted to engineering. “I would like to personally add my thanks to NEU and the University of New Haven for having the foresight to create this groundbreaking program that will change the landscape of engineering around the world,” she said.

Dale Dougherty, founder of the Maker Faire, said he hopes the faire inspires people to “see what’s possible. We can change the world literally.” New engineering programs and curriculum revisions are necessary, however, since students interested in making are anxious to make things starting on the first day of college.

Dale Dougherty, Ron Harichandran, Dan May, 500px
(L-R) ; Dale Dougherty, founder of the Make movement; Ron Harichandran; Dan May

“What worries me is when I see how many kids and adults as well those who are inspired by the faire… but where do they go on Monday or on Tuesday and Wednesday the following week?” he said.

NEU and UNH are developing the curricula for offerings in big data and making and engaging industry support. An external advisory council comprising industry and academic leaders will guide the design of curricula and programs.

UNH is preparing to seek state authorizations for the programs once the curricula are developed. Recruitment will begin after the programs are approved. One of the goals of the program is to enroll a class with a diverse student body where at least half of the students will be women, challenging the current environment in which just 11 percent of practicing engineers are female.

“Existing engineering programs are not attracting enough students, and certainly not a representative mix of students,” said Scott Kauffman, CEO of NEU. “And there is an unintentional disconnect between traditional higher education and the employment needs of American corporations. Last year, nearly 90 percent of U.S. companies reported difficulty hiring engineering talent, and 1.7 million cloud-related jobs went unfilled globally in a sector that will produce 14 million jobs by 2015. The talent gap is a global crisis that we and our mission-aligned institutions will address through an entirely new breed of engineering program.”

“This partnership is an outstanding opportunity to explore innovative curricula with industry partners,” said Daniel May, UNH provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “UNH provides the highest-quality education through experiential, collaborative and discovery-based learning in partnership with industry leaders, and together we will extend our leadership into the highest growth technical sectors of the economy.”

The envisioned debut program in Big Data will target recent engineering graduates and underemployed engineers to prepare them for leadership positions in data-centric businesses by integrating the hiring needs of employers into the curriculum and learning experiences. 

The program’s education model features:

  • A hands-on curriculum that maximizes teamwork and uses real-world projects
  • Mentor-driven teaching from industry practitioners, furthering employer ties
  • Learning environments with technology-enabled simulations and real-time projects
  • Online learning, where appropriate, to target and improve retention and learning outcomes

“These carefully selected elements, delivered in a dramatically expansive physical environment, combine to create a new breed of engineer - smart, diverse, creative and passionate about making a difference in the world,” added Kauffman. “Our ultimate goal is to enable our graduates to enter a high-growth industry in a climate where half of all students graduating from the U.S. higher education system are underemployed.”

Once approvals are received from the states of Connecticut and California, recruitment and instruction will begin, with degrees to be awarded by UNH.

New Engineering University, Inc. Leadership Team: Scott Kauffman joins as CEO.  He is an accomplished leader and former Silicon Valley CEO of both private and public companies.  Lueny Morell, winner of the prestigious Gordon Engineering Prize and former president of the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies, joins as chief academic officer.  University Ventures, the only investment firm focused exclusively on the global higher education sector, is backing NEU with valued expertise and a capital base of $100M. Learn more about NEU at www.neu.me.

About the University of New Haven

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 on the campus of Yale University in cooperation with Northeastern University, UNH moved to its current West Haven campus in 1960. The University operates a satellite campus in Tuscany, Italy, and offers programs at several locations throughout Connecticut and in New Mexico. UNH provides its students with a unique combination of a solid liberal arts education and real-world, hands-on career and research opportunities. The University enrolls approximately 6,400 students, including nearly 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates – the majority of whom reside in University housing. Through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Tagliatela College of Engineering, and College of Lifelong & eLearning, UNH offers 75 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. UNH students have access to more than 50 study abroad programs worldwide, and its student-athletes compete in 16 varsity sports in the NCAA Division II’s highly competitive Northeast-10 Conference.

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Geena Davis Thanks UNH

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