HP grants aim to redesign college engineering

Aiming to reinvent undergraduate computer science and engineering programs through the use of technology, Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) is accepting proposals from colleges and universities for a new grant program called "HP Innovations in Education"–and more than $2.4 million in cash and equipment is available.

The company seeks proposals from two- or four-year colleges and universities that offer courses that lead to degrees in engineering, computer science, or information technology. Grant projects must explore the innovations that are possible where teaching, learning, and technology intersect within one of these three disciplines–with the ultimate goal of "re-imagining undergraduate engineering education," HP says.

"With a global economy that interconnects every country around the world, the demand for highly qualified high-tech professionals increases. Attracting students into and graduating students from high-quality, high-tech degree programs is a growing challenge," the company explains. 

"Evidence is emerging that the effective use of technology, combined with exemplary teaching, can positively [affect] student academic outcomes. … The HP Innovations in Education grant recipients will become a global network of educators around the world who are designing the future of undergraduate high-tech education."

HP plans to award about 10 grants to public or qualified private colleges or universities in the United States. Each grant is valued at more than $240,000 in HP technology, cash, and professional development.

Proposals should describe how technology will be used to enable innovations in four key areas:

1. Leadership Capacity–creating a global network of administrators and key faculty who implement innovative approaches to curriculum, instruction, and the use of technology to enhance undergraduate learning and research.
2. Digital Learning Environments–using technology to fundamentally redesign the learning experience in ways that lead to increased student engagement and academic success; this can include innovations in online learning, virtual worlds, gaming for learning, and simulations, for example.

3. The Undergraduate Design and Research Experience–making engineering real and relevant by involving engineering undergraduate students in design and research challenges that address real needs in society; this can include local- and/or global-service learning.

4. Pre-College Outreach–engaging administrators, faculty, and undergraduate students to work with secondary-school teachers and students, increasing students’ awareness and interest in high-tech degree programs and careers.

The new "Innovations in Education" initiative builds on five years of experience with HP’s Technology for Teaching grant program, which has supported projects at more than 280 campuses in 41 countries, HP said.

Each award will support a campus team of eight faculty members and administrators who will pilot various uses of technology to enhance the targeted degree programs and courses.

Team members each will receive an HP Tablet PC with extended-life battery, a wide-screen monitor, DVD drive dock, keyboard, and mouse, and a digital projector. The grant also supports a digital classroom with 30 Tablet PCs and a storage cart, DyKnow classroom interactivity software, an HP Design Lab with remote accessibility, remote graphics software, a virtual training room, and $20,000 in cash.

Priority will be given to institutions that serve significant numbers of underrepresented, low-income, or otherwise marginalized student populations (such as women pursuing computer science). Priority also will be given to schools that engage with partner organizations, use matching funds to support their proposals, and offer project-based learning approaches that address real societal issues.

Proposals are due March 30. More information, including the full Request for Proposals, is available at www.hp.com/go/hpiie-usa.