University engineering initiatives are prominently featured in a report issued
this week by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).
publication, "Infusing Real World Experiences into Engineering
Education," features case studies on Rice's Beyond Traditional Borders
(BTB) program and the NanoJapan: International Research Experiences for
Undergraduates program. Among the 28 colleges and universities in the report,
only Rice is featured twice.
inclusion of two Rice programs, BTB and NanoJapan, in this important NAE report
is no surprise, given that Rice engineering is all about exposing our students
to experiences that push them well beyond their comfort zones and urge them to
journey into places far from Houston, leading to great professional development
and maturity across a variety of engineering disciplines," said Ned
Thomas, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering.
report (available as a
free download here) spotlights schools that incorporate real-world
experiences into their curricula and highlights best practices for institutions
seeking to create new programs, according to the NAE.
case study compares anticipated versus actual program outcomes to demonstrate
how well the programs prepare their engineering students.
Beyond Traditional Borders, part
of the Rice 360˚: Institute for
Global Health Technologies, trains students to use the engineering design
process to develop solutions to global health challenges provided by physicians
in the developing world. Students work on their inventions at Rice's Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen and
often develop them further using feedback they gather from physicians during
internships in developing nations.
NanoJapan is a 12-week international
research experience that prepares undergraduate students to work in
cross-cultural settings in Japan. The program seeks to cultivate an interest in
nanotechnology among first- and second-year students while adding to their
research skill sets and simultaneously educating them in culture, language and
nanoscale science. The program was founded in 2006; since then, more than 106
American students from 37 institutions, including three community colleges,
have participated. While the program traditionally takes place in Japan, in the
wake of 2011's devastating earthquake, 25 Japanese students from partner labs
in Japan came to Rice for three months of study.
report amply demonstrates Rice leadership in translating fundamental science
and engineering into high-impact practice," Rice Provost George McLendon
said. "We are extraordinarily proud of the many ways in which Rice
engineers make the world better."
nation’s prosperity, security and quality of life are direct results of
leadership in the engineering achievements that drive society forward,"
said NAE President Charles Vest. "These programs are strategically
preparing students to become the engineers who will tackle the technical and
social complexities that lie ahead in the 21st century."
The NAE is one of four organizations that make up
the National Academies, along with the
National Academy of Sciences (created by President Abraham Lincoln in
1863), the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council. They are
private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology and health
policy advice under congressional charter.