Clarkson University Partners with College Prep Engineering Program


Project Lead the Way, Inc. (PLTW), a national program forming partnerships among public schools, higher education and the private sector, has developed a four-year sequence of courses for high school students and a preparatory program for middle school students that Clarkson University says is a great match with its interdisciplinary Engineering and Management (iE&M) program. PLTW combines college preparatory mathematics and science courses and introduces students to the scope, rigor and discipline of engineering and engineering technology prior to entering college.

The PLTW courses include: Introduction to Engineering Design, Digital Electronics, Principles of Engineering, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, Civil Engineering and Architecture, and Engineering Design and Development; on the horizon are Biotechnical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering.

"Students participating in PLTW courses are better prepared and tend to be more successful in college engineering programs, especially those like that of Clarkson University's engineering and iE&M programs," stated Michael H. Ensby, director of both Clarkson's iE&M program and the Center for Global Competitiveness. "Students with a PLTW background are what we are looking for and are a good fit for the iE&M program because of their previous knowledge of both engineering design and business application."

Ensby pointed out that last year Clarkson was named one of three university grant winners in the prestigious Procter & Gamble (P&G) Fund's annual Curriculum Development Grant Program. Clarkson's successful proposal, titled "Multidisciplinary Projects Course in Virtual Product Development," received a funding from P&G totaling $150,000 over three years, with additional support to the university and in-kind donations. The premise is that the proven success of virtual-prototyping technology--in the form of computer-aided design and engineering (CAD/CAE)--in assessing the feasibility of a product at the design level, can be leveraged when combined with virtual reality technology in gauging how the customer experiences a product when making a purchase.

ClarksonUniversity is offering a new multidisciplinary-projects course as part of the grant project and will provide students the opportunity to experience the virtual product development process. Students involved from across the university will gain a hands-on experience developing new products as a team, working with P&G liaisons, corporate recruiters, the local business community and other sources. The project will also include student placement in summer internships and seek full-time student placements in positions that make use of their acquired virtual product development skills.

The P&G Fund awarded a total of $450,000 as part of its Curriculum Development Grant Program, of which Clarkson University, Indiana University and the University of Virginia all received various portions.

Clarkson’s iE&M program closely aligns to the goals and interdisciplinary curriculum style of PLTW and is "Preparing Tomorrow's Technical Leaders Today." PLTW has also developed an exciting middle school technology curriculum: "Gateway To Technology." This project-based, cutting-edge curriculum is 40 weeks in length and is divided into four 10-week units from the following: Design and Modeling; The Magic of Electrons; The Science of Technology; and Automation and Robotics; and three new units in development are Environmental Engineering, Energy and the Environment, and Aerospace Engineering.

In addition to PLTW's goals of increasing the number of engineers and engineering technologists graduating from the education system, the Gateway to Technology program strives to increase interest and awareness of female and minority students in technology and related careers. Over the last 10 years, a combination of 210 high school and middle schools have been certified or recognized for their implementation of PLTW in the state of New York.

For more information on Clarkson University's interdisciplinary Engineering & Management program, visit . For more information about Project Lead the Way, visit .

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