NSF Workshop Plenary Speaker

Plenary Speaker Dan Arvizu, Director, National Renewable Energy Laboratory addresses participants

Government, industry and university collaboration, and increasing retention were among the themes discussed by top engineering education and industry leaders gathered for the College of Engineering and Computing workshop entitled “Building Partnerships and Pathways to Address the Foundational Grand Challenge for Engineering Education.”

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, some 50 stakeholders at the decision making level from the engineering schools, community colleges, school districts, industry and government attended the 3 day workshop, exploring ways to help increase the stagnant supply of the next generation of engineering workforce in the U.S. The workshop presented participants the opportunity to engage in discussions and share ideas in four sessions taking place March 7-9 in Miami.  Attending schools included Minority Serving Institutions (MSI’s), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI’s) with urban mission with several national research university partners.

FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg welcomed participants as well as keynote speaker Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, who addressed participants at the opening reception.

The workshop’s four (4) sessions focused on the following topics:

Wayne Clough

Keynote Speaker Wayne Clough, Secretary, Smithsonian Institution opens workshop with talk titled, "The Engineers of Tomorrow: How Do We Attract, Retain, Educate and Inspire Them?"

– Developing a Systems Integration Approach For The Underserved K-20 STEM Eco-System;

2) SESSION 2 – Increasing Retention in Engineering Through Active Engagement of Students and Faculty;

3) SESSION 3 – HSI/HBCU/MSI National Research University Partnerships For Innovation; and,

4) SESSION 4 – Industry –University Partnerships For Engineering Workforce and Innovation Eco-System.


Each session introduced the topic with a plenary speaker, followed by a panel of subject matter experts, and completed with break-out groups using a set of pre-defined reflection questions for group development of a summary plan and recommended actions.  The results from each of these “table-top” discussions were presented to entire body of participants.

These results will be circulated widely to raise awareness of the fundamental contributions that a diversified engineering workforce must make to address the Grand Challenges for Engineering as well as the kinds of active partnerships that can realistically address the foundational grand challenge for engineering education. The proposed road map will help guide the stakeholders in engineering education, including the funding agencies, to align their resources and increase the stagnant supply of the next generation of engineering workforce, particularly within underrepresented minorities in urban settings. Such activities will also help increase the number of faculty from HIS/HBCU/MSI’s including severely underrepresented and minority faculty with unique experiences and novel approaches to increase the engineering talent pool, who will serve as role models for the next generation of engineering students in the U.S.