Survey suggests need for campus innovation

Campus leaders must think outside the box to keep U.S. higher education ahead of the rest of the world and also control costs, survey respondents said.

A majority of Americans still believe that college is very or extremely important in order to experience the “American Dream,” according to a national survey that paints a picture of how higher education is viewed today. But 83 percent of respondents also believe that U.S. colleges and universities must “innovate” to remain globally competitive and keep down costs.

Last October, Northeastern University asked FTI Consulting to conduct 1,001 telephone interviews across the country to examine Americans’ views of college today. The survey, “Innovation Imperative: The Future of Higher Education,” revealed that nationally, 70 percent of Americans think that college is either extremely important or very important, and three out of four older Americans think that college degrees are more important today than in previous generations.

“Higher education is not standing still. When you hear higher education is not moving fast enough—think again,” said Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University.…Read More

Mass. schools team up for supercomputer center

A 9-acre site will house the supercomputing center.

At a gritty industrial site occupied a century ago by a textile mill, five universities are collaborating to install supercomputers that will recreate the start of the universe and perform other research.

The developers of the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, which is being built and is expected to be operating by the end of next year, were drawn to Holyoke for the same reason industrialists flocked to the city in the 19th century: cheap water power from the Connecticut River.

“It’s coming full circle for us,” said John Goodhue, executive director of the project.…Read More

Technology gives engineering programs a real-world impact

Students will use sensors to examine how the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge reacts to daily traffic.
Students will use sensors to examine how the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge is affected by 50,000 daily commuters.

Drexel University engineering student Jeffrey Dowgala says real-time information recorded by electronic sensors has helped him and his classmates understand the many environmental factors that can affect a bridge—an impact impossible to explore in standard textbooks.

Philadelphia-based Drexel and prominent engineering programs at Northeastern University in Boston, Purdue University, and Texas A&M University secured $200,000 from the National Science Foundation last year to use monitoring equipment that shows how a nearby bridge reacts to traffic, heavy vehicles, and weather.

Information collected from each sensor will be streamed to university classrooms, where students and faculty members will analyze how the bridge handles its daily carloads.…Read More