NSF TUES Grant: A Collaborative, Multi-Campus Program to Enhance STEM Learning in Energy Science, Technology and Policy We report on the results of an NSF TUES grant to support the interaction of six public and private campuses (four four-year institutions and two community colleges) to develop curricula and programs in energy science, technology and policy. The programs developed under this project leverage resources at all the campuses to provide students with coursework intended to enhance their understanding of basic scientific concepts related to energy production, distribution and use, and introduce them to basic engineering fundamentals in sustainable energy. The multi-disciplinary program trains the students in a systems-based approach to energy technology, and enhance their understanding of how to analyze energy policy decisions (including the impact of technical, economic and regulatory factors). Several online and hybrid courses have been developed as part of this project to allow for enhanced cross-registration between campuses. Overall, courses developed or selected for the program introduce students to emergent energy technologies (including the smart grid and infrastructure systems of the future), probabilistic risk assessment, and the dynamics of various energy markets, including understanding changing energy needs on a local to a global scale. Data from surveys, combined with evidence from student portfolios and feedback from stakeholders, are presented to show how students in the programs gain in their understanding of key concepts and how associated experiential activities, including internships, research experiences and exposure to real-world case studies, enhance authenticity in energy education and prepare students to meet the challenges of creating and using emerging technological solutions to energy needs.
This program addresses the problem of retaining and attracting students to the energy field. In an effort to recruit students who will become the energy professionals of the future, a partnership of six academic institutions is developing a comprehensive energy education curricular program that includes technical as well as management and policy aspects - so that upon graduation, our students will have a well rounded education in the energy field. Each partner in this six-campus program brings added value to the curricular offerings. In addition, the program offers internships and other experiential learning opportunities for our students to succeed as they start their careers in the energy field.
The project's short term goals include:
a) implementation of a minor course of study in Energy, Science and Technology;
b) creation of a partnership with stakeholders (including local communities and industrial partnerships) for program development, recruitment of mentors,
c) establishment of internships and experiential learning opportunities.
Long term goals include:
a) establishment of a full degree program in alternative energy technology and policy with joint admission;
b) integration with a large internship program facilitated through an online database and advisor; and
c) expansion of the program through the distance learning model and broad-based recruitment activities to other regions; expanded workforce development and participation in ﾑgreenﾒ energy research.
To prepare students to master the many facets of an industry that is constantly changing requires more than a prescribed set of skills, as student need to learn to analyze energy policy decisions, follow the dynamics of various energy markets, or understand how to use and manage emergent energy technologies, the smart grid and future infrastructure systems. To meet these requirements, students need a multidisciplinary education supported by a diverse set of perspectives, including practical experiences and multidisciplinary approaches.
Therefore our approach has been to design an enhanced curricular program that provides a systems perspective to the energy field, and to also offer new courses (e.g., NYIT, SUNY Nassau CC), including online courses that are easier to take by students across campuses. Internships and externships along with conferences, workshops and job fairs, also support this approach.
* Academic Program Development ﾖ faculty at the various campuses have been working closely with each other and with industry and government representatives to enhance the existing academic programs as well as to design new courses for students interested in working in businesses that design, industrialize, distribute or assess alternative energy for the benefit of Long Island, New York State and the nation as a whole.
To illustrate, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) and Stony Brook University (SBUSUNY) have designed and approved the energy minor at their corresponding institutions. https://www.nyit.edu/about_nyit/news/multi-campus_undergraduate_energy_minor_to_enhance_stem_learning_nsf_award_/
In addition, NYIT and Nassau County Community College (NCCC) have designed and are teaching new on-line energy courses.
The partners have also worked to promote and advertise the courses and new curricular program, for example, regular Information Sessions for the Energy Minor at NYIT, and sessions with presentations by the Career Advisement office and the Chair of the Energy program.
During the last semester NYIT increased the number of students recruited, from 10 to 19 students, with 10 registering in the Energy Minor. Of the 19 students, 21% were female, 37% declared minority status, and two thirds were juniors.
* Companies, government agencies, colleges, and universities are collaborating to enable students to acquire meaning-full, job-related work experiences on Long Island, earn academic credit, and develop skills, insight and experience that will guide their future careers.
The program has secured several internships and experiential opportunities for the students (see sample under broader impacts)
* In order to facilitate the discovery and understanding of key issues in the field, the Consortium regularly sponsors a series of lectures and conferences relating to sustainable and alternate energy, bringing in experts to interact with students, faculty, government agencies and private companies. These include NYIT's Annual Energy Conference in June each year; Stony Brook's Advanced Energy conferences; NY Battery, Energy and Storage Technology (BEST) conferences, and regular workshops and job fairs.
To illustrate, NYIT's Annual Energy Conference:'Tipping Points: Energy, Water and Climate;' was held on June 10, 2015; further information is available at: https://www.nyit.edu/conferences/energy_conference
* Establishment of additional distance learning opportunities through the participating campuses and the NYIT and SUNY Learning Networks; evidence of enhanced recruitment, and learning in energy-related skills and experience; evidence of faculty professional development in energy education; evidence of increased interest and participation in a ﾑgreenﾒ energy workforce and research.
Besides the ability of students from one university to benefit from energy courses at other colleges, there are additional beneficial impacts. Indeed, broader impacts are evident through our students in the program being engaged in internships and experiential activities that serve the broader community while preparing them for careers in the energy field. To illustrate, NYIT students were engaged by the Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center to design a new Technology Training Center adjacent to its current facility in Garden City, Long Island,
NY. This Training Center will house new programs and an aerospace restoration center for unique, antique and historic aircraft and spacecraft. The students had to design optimal energy systems as well as efficient water treatment systems, which made use of renewable energy to power these systems.
Recruiting students for the Common Minor in Energy Science, Technology and Policy (ESTeP) program across campuses is a challenge as they need to learn to find courses in different colleges' catalogs, and they are often confusing. A mobile device App is being developed by Stony Brook University and NYIT to facilitate the students' process of selecting courses across the six campuses involved in the ESTeP program.
1. Nada Marie Anid, Ph.D. (2015). Energy and Sustainability Inspire Next Generation. Article by Dr. Nada Anid published in the Spring 2015 The Corridor Journal of Strategic Alliances, Special Issue on Sustainable Energy and the Environment.
2. Robert N. Amundsen, Ph.D., CEM, LEED AP BD+C (2015). Global Crossroads for Energy Professionals. Article published on The Corridor Journal of Strategic Alliances, Spring 2015 special issue on Sustainable Energy and the Environment.
3. Ziqian (Cecilia) Dong, Ph.D., Asst. Prof., School of Engineering & Computing Sciences (SoECS), NYIT; Pai Zhu, Sr. Student, SoECS, NYIT; Michael Bobker, Building Performance Lab, CUNY, and Marco Ascazubi, Student, BPL, CUNY (2015). POSTER: Simplified Characterization of Building Thermal Response Rates. 6th International Building Physics Conference (IBPC), June 14-17, 2015. Torino, Italy.
4. Anid, N.; M. Panero; C. Zheng; J. Liu (2015). EcoPartnership on water quality management and conservation in the U.S. and China. Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy. 7 (041513), https://scitation.aip. DOI: doi: 10.1063/1.4929535.