USD Awarded National Science Foundation Grant for Engineering Conference

The National Science Foundation has awarded a grant of $45,037 to the University of San Diego for a project entitled "Proposing a Revolution — Lessons Learned in Designing RED Projects." The grant is under the direction of Professors Michelle M. Camacho (College of Arts and Sciences) and Susan M. Lord (Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering). RED refers to revolutionizing engineering and computer science departments (RED).

The University of San Diego is one of 13 universities in the country that was successful in proposing ideas to revolutionize engineering. The grant supports a conference bringing representatives from different campuses together to share knowledge with other scholars in these fields across the nation.

The conference aims to instigate exchanges of revolutionary ideas, stimulate new directions that are well-aligned with the RED program description, and cultivate innovative potential in the production of RED grant proposals. The conference offers potential awardees a better understanding of how to scale their projects, aiming to produce the widest possible impact at universities across the country. The objective is that through the conference the pool of submissions proposed to NSF will be enhanced.

"USD is among a select group of universities funded by the National Science Foundation to implement revolutionary changes in engineering,” says Camacho. “This conference takes a grassroots approach to sharing some of the most innovative methods for creating institutional transformation in engineering and computer science by bringing together other revolutionary scholars with the aim of sparking institutional innovation."

“One of the requirements of all RED grants is to form collaborations between engineering, engineering education, and the social sciences to help revolutionize engineering education. For our RED project, this helps to produce engineers who are ready to improve society in the areas of social justice, humanitarian advancement and sustainable practices,” says Lord, professor and chair of electrical engineering. “Sociology Professor Michelle Camacho and I have developed a successful interdisciplinary partnership in this area and we look forward to sharing our ideas and experiences at the conference on how other schools can create similar collaborations.”

The conference will inductively explore the radical possibilities for programmatic change in engineering and computer science departments. As many institutions make plans to apply for the NSF RED grants to improve undergraduate STEM education, this proposed conference will help generate innovative ideas aligned with the RED program announcement.

Additionally, the panelists will share information about the proposal writing process. Current grant recipients will serve as panelists and will share their perspectives on the RED research and implementation design, challenges and successes in assembling the proposal team, and lessons learned in the process of proposing revolutionary change in their departments.

The impact of this conference will broaden awareness of what it means to be revolutionary in engineering and computer science. This conference is not supported under the official auspices of NSF. Rather, the conference emerges from the pool of current RED projects engaged in creating institutional transformations in engineering and computer science. This conference provides an excellent opportunity to make a broader impact by sharing knowledge about current RED projects, offering mentoring to institutions interested in submitting a grant proposal to the RED program, and maximizing NSF’s investment in the RED program.

The award started Sept. 1, 2016 and ends February 28, 2017.

— Melissa Olesen and Liz Harman

Professors Susan Lord and Michelle Camacho have secured a National Science Foundation grant for its idea to host a conference centered on ideas to revolutionize engineering.Professors Susan Lord and Michelle Camacho have secured a National Science Foundation grant for its idea to host a conference centered on ideas to revolutionize engineering.

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