Robert J. Coleman
Best Practices Sessions Chair
Associate Director, SUCCEED Coalition
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Welcome to the first NSF Engineering Education Innovators' Conference! The conference has as its aim cross-fertilization and sharing, both of ideas and products, among the engineering education components of several NSF-sponsored programs. The invited participants come from:

  • Combined Research-Curriculum Development Program
  • Engineering Education Coalitions Program
  • Engineering Education Scholars Workshops
  • Engineering Research Centers Program
  • Technology Reinvestment Project.

    There is also participation by the CAREER and GOALI programs, as well as by various representatives of NSF leadership.

    The conference is a first effort to identify and explore themes and possible areas of interaction among these diverse programs. I would like to emphasize the word first. I hope that you take away from this conference an idea of what is happening in other programs, the common problems faced by all in providing innovations in engineering education, and a knowledge of what has worked and what hasn't. I hope this will lead to a sharing of ideas across program lines and a follow-up to strengthen those ties.

    The conference follows several formats. The first day includes a number of "Best Practices" workshops intended to identify what is working among the various programs and to provide guidelines for NSF in institutionalizing some of these practices. In addition, there is a session on evaluation, using case studies to present and illustrate different methods for evaluating engineering education projects. There is also a session on current efforts to establish and maintain a user-friendly system for storage and retrieval of quality-reviewed electronic courseware. At the end of the first day, the chairs of all these workshops will summarize the highlights of their meetings in a plenary session for all conference attendees.

    There are "interactive-poster" sessions at lunch and in the evening of the first day. These were selected by NSF program managers to display and disseminate mature products and to highlight achievements and efforts.

    The second day of the conference (not represented in this report) is given over to program-
    specific activities; there are several different formats for those sessions. The highlight of the second day will be a luncheon address by Dr. Joseph Bordogna, Acting Deputy Director of NSF.

    At this time, I would like to introduce Dr. Marshall Lih, Division Director for the Engineering Education and Centers Division, who will recognize the various NSF program managers and coordinators and make some opening remarks regarding the theme of our conference, innovation in engineering education.