NAE lauds Penn State for real-world experience in engineering classes

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State was one of 29 institutions recognized by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for incorporating real-world experiences in their curricula.

The organization's report, "Infusing Real World Experiences into Engineering Education," was released Nov. 13 and highlights best practices for schools looking to start new programs.

Penn State's College of Engineering was lauded for its two capstone initiatives through the Bernard M. Gordon Learning Factory.

The NAE cited the University's effort to mimic the operation of distributed multinational corporate project teams by having Penn State engineers collaborate with other engineering students around the world.

Penn State's international engineering work is designed to teach students the impact of engineering in a global, economic, environmental and societal context; help them understand cultural and ethnic differences, and develop the ability to work sensitively with them; allow them to function effectively in multinational teams; communicate with people whose first language is not English; and organize and deliver communication around the world.

The academy also pointed to the college's effort to create interdisciplinary teams like those widely found in industry by teaming its engineering students with peers from other majors.

The interdisciplinary work is designed to teach students how to function effectively in teams with members from multiple disciplines; communicate with people who aren't engineers; develop innovative solutions by harnessing creativity from multiple disciplines; incorporate design considerations beyond technical engineering issues; and gain an appreciation for other disciplines' perspectives on and approaches to design.

The NAE received 95 nominations from accredited four-year undergraduate schools with engineering or engineering technology programs for inclusion in the report.

The full report can be downloaded at the NAE’s website,

The report was sponsored by Advanced Micro Devices Inc., in support of its NextGen Engineer initiative.

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Last Updated November 27, 2012