[EAS]$500,000 Teaching Prize

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Sat Apr 13 17:42:50 EDT 2002

Subject:   $500,000 Teaching Prize

(from ASEE Prism -- April 2002)

A Top Prize

The National Academy of Engineering has awarded its inaugural
Bernard M. Gordon Prize for inventiveness in engineering and
technology education to Drexel University's Eli Fromm, a Roy A.
Brothers University Professor and an instructor of electrical and
computer engineering. 

Fromm is known for developing a revolutionary teaching program that
focuses on making engineering courses available to freshmen and
sophomores, incorporating liberal arts into the engineering
curriculum and teaching students in a lab. Called Enhanced Education
Experience for Engineers, the program was introduced at Drexel in
1989 and has expanded to 60 universities across the globe.

As the Gordon Prize recipient, Fromm received a gold medallion and a
half million dollar award to be split with Drexel.

More details at
the text of which follows below

> Drexel University engineering professor Dr. Eli Fromm, who developed
> the revolutionary Enhanced Education Experience for Engineers (E4)
> Program, was honored by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE)
> with the inaugural Bernard M. Gordon Prize for inventiveness in
> engineering and technology education Tuesday, February 19, 2002, at
> Union Station in Washington, D.C. 
> The Gordon Prize, to be awarded biennially, carries a gold medallion
> and a $500,000 cash award to be divided equally between Fromm and
> Drexel University. 
> As an electrical and computer engineering professor at Drexel in the
> 1980s, Fromm observed an increasing number of students dropping out
> of engineering studies. Fromm knew it was time for an overhaul of
> DrexelÕ traditional undergraduate engineering curriculum for
> freshmen and sophomores, whose coursework included at least a year
> of hard science before the introduction of more creative engineering
> concepts. 
> "I felt we needed to make changes in the undergraduate programs Ñ
> more than just course content Ñ but the entire philosophy," said
> Fromm, a resident of Broomall. "The greater practice and design
> orientation I had as an undergraduate had given way to theory and
> analysis. At the same time, many of the students no longer had the
> opportunity to ÔtinkerÕ with things before coming to college. Some
> of the important issues for a future practicing engineer were
> beginning to get lost." 
> Conceived in 1988 and introduced at Drexel in 1989, E4 centered on
> six basic principles: offering engineering courses to freshmen and
> sophomores, incorporating liberal arts, basic sciences and
> mathematics courses into the engineering curriculum within an
> engineering context and teaching students in a lab, the natural
> setting for practicing engineers. 
> Fromm recruited more than 40 Drexel faculty members to co-teach
> other disciplines such as writing and history with engineering
> professors in a hands-on lab setting. E4 went on to win the NSFÕs
> designation as a national model for undergraduate engineering
> studies. Drexel renamed the program the Drexel Engineering
> Curriculum, "tDEC." 
> With funding from the Engineering Directorate of the NSF in 1992,
> FrommÕs pioneering curriculum expanded to seven other academic
> institutions through the Gateway Engineering Education Coalition,
> which, among other things, brought E4 to the entire curriculum,
> introduced technology into the classroom and established measurable
> course outcomes. 
> Gateway Coalition and E4 programs have been extended to more than 60
> institutions around the world. Fromm leads the Gateway Engineering
> Education Coalition from its headquarters at Drexel.
> [see <http://www.gatewaycoalition.org/>  --pjk]
> "In todayÕs world, an engineer must be comfortable working with
> product development teams consisting of marketers, financial people
> and manufacturing specialists Ñ in addition to other engineers,"
> said NAE President William A. Wulf. "The new environment requires an
> engineer to have communication skills, understand more about
> business and a deeper understanding of the design process itself.
> Dr. Fromm and his colleagues were among the first and most
> influential in bringing these kinds of skills into the early part of
> the engineering curriculum." 
> The Gateway Coalition and tDEC programs have shown dramatic results
> in such areas as student retention and minority involvement.
> Participant schools, some of which networked together via the
> Internet, achieved an 86 percent increase in freshmen retention. The
> number of engineering degrees at those schools has risen among woman
> 46 percent, Hispanics 65 percent and African Americans 118 percent. 
> "The NAE decided to create the prize to emphasize the importance of
> the continual improvement of engineering education and to underscore
> our commitment to that improvement," Wulf said. 

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