The Union-Lafayette NSF CPATH grant:
"Creating a Campus-wide Computation Initiative"
"Creating a Campus-wide Computation Initiative"
Union and Lafayette Colleges received a five-year $1.15M National Science Foundation grant for our proposal Campus Wide Computation Initiative: A New Model for Computing Education. The motivation of the CPATH solicitation was to revitalize undergraduate computing education. Rather than focus specifically on computer science enrollments, the goal of our project is to broaden the pool of students who are prepared to integrate computation into their fields of study. We believe that computation can play a role in disciplines across our campuses, and have designed the grant activities for the broadest possible participation.
The big picture
Key components of the project are:
- Development of an introductory computational science course. At Union this course is CSC-103 Taming Big Data:Introduction to Computer Science.
- Modification of existing courses and development of new courses
in departments other than CS that extend students' use of
- In summer 2008 grant funded projects led to modules for courses in macroeconomics, acoustics of speech production, statistical mechanics, and computational chemistry.
- Summer 2009 funded projects, carried out by nine faculty-student pairs from astronomy, biology, classics, economics, engineering, film studies, and political science resulted in one new course and eight course components.
- Summer 2010 funded projects led to computational infusions for courses in mechanical engineering, astronomy, psychology/neuroscience, and a sophomore research seminar with an economics focus.
- During academic 2010-2011 the grant funded a project to develop a new economics courses on The Economics of Technological Change.
- Summer 2011 funded projects: additional funding for one astronomy project, and funding for a new political science project (running at Susquehanna University)
- During January 2012 the grant will fund a project at Mount Holyoke College on the use of computation (via iPad applications) for string instrument instruction.
- Development of a new Computational Methods minor, which was approved in spring 2009, available to students as of the 2009-2010 academic year.
- The development of research projects that involve computation and engage students in the use of computational skills
- Development of a seminar series that highlights computational
activities in different fields.
How can you be part of this project/what's in it for you?
Generate support for the use of computation within your field of study! Help students develop the skills to work on research with you!
Talk about computation within your discipline:
- devote a portion of a class to ways in which computation is used in your field. Or invite someone from the CS department to do that. We are happy to visit your classes to talk about ways in which computation is being used to address problems, to create new resources, and as part of new subfields.
The grant includes support for two activities which can be rolled into one summer project.
- You work closely with a student on a computationally oriented project within your area of research and interest. Your experience with the student will help you identify the specific areas in which you would like your students to have greater facility and capability.
- You then develop a module for one of your courses that will will generate interest in the use of computation among students who take your course.
- Unlike the usual Union summer research program, both you and the
student get summer funding!
Applying for summer 2012 support:
If you are interested in applying for summer 2012, please email me a proposal by February 17, 2012. In your proposal:
- describe your project. For what course do you expect to develop a module, and what sort of material and activities do you anticipate adding to it? How does this relate to your specific research or discipline specific activities with which you would like students to become familiar? Why do you expect the curricular infusion will increase students' interest in learning about and using computation?
- discuss the student you would like to have work with you and why you think he/she is the right student for this project
- explain why you expect working on this project will increase the summer student's interest in learning about and using computation
- list computing and support resources you expect to need this summer
and for a successful roll out of your new course module.
Summer 2008: Janet Anderson - Chemistry, Helen Hanson - Electrical and Computer Engineering, Eshragh Motahar - Economics, Gary Reich - Physics
Summer 2009: Michelle Chilcoat - Film Studies, Quynh Chu-LaGraff - Biology / Neuroscience, Jeff Corbin - Biology, Ashraf Ghaly - Engineering, Jim Hedrick - Engineering, Zoe Oxley - Political Science, Steve Schmidt - Economics, Tarik Wareh - Classics, Francis Wilkin - Astronomy.
Summer 2010: Ann Anderson and Brad Bruno - Mechanical Engineering, Tomas Dvorak - Economics, Jonathan Marr - Astronomy, Steve Romero - Psychology / Neuroscience
Academic 2010-2011: Fuat Sener - Economics
Summer 2011: Christina Xydias - Political Science (now at Susquehanna University). In addition, both Janet Anderson and Jonathan Marr worked with students who were funded under the grant, although there were no new curricular infusions developed by the faculty.
January 2012: Linda Laderach - Music (Mount Holyoke College)
Summer 2012: Andrew Burkett - English, David Gillikin - Geology, David Goodwin - Geology (Denison College), Susan Kohler - Chemistry, Steve Sargeant - History, Francis Wilkin - Astronomy, Jeff Corbin - Biology, Keith Ohara (CS) and Maria Cecire (Literature) - Bard College
Summer 2013: No additional faculty were funded, but we did launch a new project that involved Mark Dallas - Political Science, Roger Hoerl - Math (Statistics), and Eshragh Motahar - Economics.
For more information:
Contact me! Valerie Barr, CS Dept., x8361.