Gordon Engineering Education Prize

Posted on January 16, 2006  Comments (1)

Jens E. Jorgensen, John S. Lamancusa, Lueny Morell, Allen L. Soyster, and José Zayas-Castro will receive the Bernard M. Gordon Prize “for creating the Learning Factory, where multidisciplinary student teams develop engineering leadership skills by working with industry to solve real-world problems.” The Gordon Prize is an annual award from the National Academy of Engineering that recognizes innovation in engineering and technology education: the award includes a $500,000 payment.

The Gordon Prize was established in 2001 as a prize recognizing new modalities and experiments in education that develop effective engineering leaders. Recognizing the potential to spur a revolution in engineering education.

The Learning Factory was developed to produce engineering graduates who could easily translate engineering theory into practice and manage projects independently. In this innovative undergraduate program, students tackle real problems from industry, such as designing a collapsible crutch, turning coal ash into a pavement, and making the mechanism that adjusts the position of car seatbacks safer. Multidisciplinary teams of students define and characterize the problem, build a solution prototype, write a business proposal, and make presentations about their idea. “Learning Factory students see firsthand the importance of teamwork, effective communication, and engineering ethics,” says NAE President Wm. A. Wulf. “Mastering such qualities is essential for engineers to become leaders in a dynamic workplace.”

The Learning Factory originated from a coalition between three universities, Sandia National Laboratories, and 36 industrial partners that shared a desire to give students firsthand experience in design, manufacturing, and business. A 1994 National Science Foundation/Advanced Research Projects Agency grant funded the creation of the Learning Factory as a Manufacturing Engineering Education Partnership (MEEP).

Within three years, the university partners — Pennsylvania State University, the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (UPRM), and the University of Washington (UW) — successfully integrated the Learning Factory into their institutions and curricula. Since then, Learning Factory concepts and course materials have spread to other departments within these institutions, and to other universities in the U.S. and Latin America. More than 10,000 students have created over 1,200 Learning Factory design projects involving more than 200 industry partners.

One Response to “Gordon Engineering Education Prize”

  1. 2008 Draper Prize for Engineering » Curious Cat Engineering Blog
    November 14th, 2014 @ 5:47 am

    The 2008 Charles Stark Draper Prize will be awarded to Rudolf Kalman for the development and dissemination of the optimal digital technique known as the Kalman Filter…

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