Envisioned Master's Program in Making and Big Data Aims to Address Engineering's Skills and Diversity Gaps

Sep 22, 2013, 00:01 ET from NEU


NEW YORK, Sept. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A team of innovators and globally recognized technology and educational leaders, founded as New Engineering University ("NEU"), announced today that they will join creative and intellectual forces to develop programs in partnership with the University of New Haven 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 and the University of New Haven are developing the curricula for these offerings and engaging industry support. An external advisory council comprising industry and academic leaders will guide the design of curricula and programs. The University of New Haven 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, University of New Haven provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. "The University of New Haven 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 the University of New Haven, which is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

The program will also focus heavily on reaching underrepresented groups by creating programs targeted at these demographics. "NEU is distinctively positioned to deliver on the vision of the Geena Davis Institute: providing more accessible training in science, technology, engineering and math for underserved minority groups - in particular, women," said Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media. "First in the U.S., and then globally, we'll positively impact how our workforce is shaped for innovation."

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, the University of New Haven 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. The University of New Haven is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

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Tracey Parry
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