News Article | June 16, 2017
Florida Polytechnic University was granted initial regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a significant milestone the University has diligently worked toward since its founding. This decision means future Florida Poly graduates, and those who graduated earlier this year, will have a degree from a regionally accredited university. Governor Rick Scott said, “I was proud in 2012 to sign the bill creating Florida Polytechnic University and today’s announcement furthers the university’s goal of providing students with a world-class education. Florida Polytechnic’s focus on STEM is helping create a new generation of innovative leaders in Florida and I applaud its achievement of initial regional accreditation by the SACSCOC.” “Our University has achieved a number of significant milestones in our short history, but this is the biggest yet,” said Florida Poly President Dr. Randy K. Avent. “Accreditation signals to prospective students and faculty that we are serious and legitimate contenders in the world of higher education.” “Achieving accreditation was our last Legislative mandate,” said President Avent. “Today’s announcement allows us to move forward from the start-up phase and into new territory as we work to build a stronger Florida and lead the charge to develop future high-tech business leaders, create jobs and grow Florida’s economy. Adding accreditation to our credentials greatly enhances our ability to advance our STEM-focused mission,” said President Avent. Regional accreditation brings many benefits to the University, including fulfilling our commitment to the State of Florida that they would have an accredited university focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Regional accreditation is necessary for our students, on an ongoing basis, to receive federal financial aid such as Pell Grants and federally guaranteed student loans; accreditation is also required for universities to receive federal research funding that supports students as a part of university research programs. “It is my pleasure to advise that the SACSCOC Board of Trustees approved the initial accreditation of Florida Polytechnic University at its June meeting,” said SACSCOC Vice President Dr. Mary Kirk. “Becoming an accredited university is not easy, but Florida Poly has met the high standards we require for educational quality, accountability, and continuous improvement.” The University was named a candidate for accreditation a year ago by SACSCOC after meeting the initial set of standards. During this past year, Florida Poly worked to complete the final step for accreditation by submitting detailed documentation demonstrating the school’s compliance with all principles of accreditation. Representatives of SACSCOC also visited campus in February for three days of reviewing facilities and meeting with faculty and staff. “Today’s announcement validates years of hard work,” said Frank T. Martin, chairman of the Florida Poly Board of Trustees. “As an original board member, I’ve been involved in every stage of this university’s growth. We have achieved tremendous accomplishments and certainly faced our challenges, but today is truly a landmark day for Florida’s 12th State University and I’m proud of this achievement as we prepare our students to become the next generation of STEM leaders.” SACSCOC is the recognized regional accrediting body in the eleven U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and in Latin America for institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degrees. The Commission on Colleges’ Board of Trustees is the representative body of the College Delegate Assembly and is charged with carrying out the accreditation process. For information contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4558. About Florida Polytechnic University: Florida Polytechnic University is the newest member of the State University System of Florida. Dedicated exclusively to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), the University blends applied research with industry partnerships to give students an academically rigorous education with real-world relevance. Faculty experts at Florida Polytechnic University provide insightful analysis, opinions and comments about a broad range of STEM and higher education subjects. To connect with Florida Poly faculty, click here. The campus, located in Lakeland, Fla. along the I-4 High Tech Corridor, opened for classes in the fall of 2014. Media Note: Dr. Avent and Chair Martin will be available for interviews upon request.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Core R&D Programs | Award Amount: 499.27K | Year: 2016
Concerns about maintaining a strong, vibrant US economy and improving global competitiveness have led to efforts to increase the number and diversity of graduates in STEM majors. Attrition among engineering students is high in the first two years of college studies, and even higher among women and underrepresented minority students. There have been research investments made by multiple stakeholders that have invested in various strategies to improve the situation with many efforts focused on knowledge-acquisition aspects of student performance. In contrast there are research efforts to explore strategies that are more focused on motivation and self-regulatory aspects of student performance. There has been an increasing effort to investigate a construct that measures these aspects called grit. Grit, which is defined as unwavering interest in and perseverance for a long-term goal, is likely to be important to individuals trying to achieve the challenging, long-term goal of attaining an engineering degree.
The proposed study is an active learning model that evaluates the impacts on grit character trait and its relations to student retention in engineering. It will be conducted with an ethnically and economically diverse sample of undergraduate engineering students. The team is using an experimental design approach in which response to the control groups is utilized to evaluate grit characteristics of growth mindset and build optimism. The research questions seek to investigate if active learning builds the character trait of grit among engineering students while they learn in a sequence of engineering mechanics courses and whether increased grit leads to other success outcomes such as retention in the major and progress toward degree. The intellectual merit includes the treatment approach to explore active learning impacts on student grit upon student retention and course sequencing. The broader impacts of research is that an active learning design model that can provide insights to the impact on student retention and completion of coursework and degree completion. Also there will be special focus on investigating women and underrepresented minorities who leave STEM majors at disproportionately higher rates in the STEM workforce.
This project is supported by NSFs EHR Core Research Program. The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates foundational knowledge in the field.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 190.88K | Year: 2016
One of the four key recommendations of the Nuclear Science Advisory Committees 2015 Long Range Plan (LRP) included increasing investment in small-scale and mid-scale projects and initiatives that enable forefront research at universities and laboratories. The LRP also encourages education and workforce development as well as research and development into state-of-the-art tools and techniques for nuclear science. This project, the development of a particle physics detector at Chicago State University and California Polytechnic State University, will enable the transfer of knowledge from an international collaboration of world-class physicists and engineers at Europes Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to our universities. This will provide unique opportunities to train undergraduate students in electronics, detection techniques, laser technology, data analysis, and instrumentation interface.
The Fast Interaction Trigger Detector (FIT) proposed here is an instrument that meets specific requirements as the Minimum Bias trigger for one of the particle detector systems (called ALICE) at the LHC: (a) The capability to discriminate beam-beam interactions with a 99% efficiency for the collisions generated by the LHC at a rate of 50 kHz for Pb-Pb collisions and a rate of 200 kHz for p-p and p-Pb collisions. (b) The capability to provide a start signal for the rest of the ALICE detectors (Level 0 trigger) with a time resolution better than 30 ps. In addition to these design parameters, the FIT detector will provide the following measurements: (a) Charged particle multiplicity (b) Interaction reaction plane (c) First measurement of the collision vertex position. FIT will also be the key detector to provide direct feedback to the LHC. It will be the first of the ALICE detectors to be turned on to perform beam tuning and monitor online luminosity. These characteristics, not available in any instrument provided by a vendor, require the development of a unique instrument at the vanguard of trigger detectors for high energy nuclear and particle physics.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 2.44M | Year: 2015
Education research continues to produce evidence that teaching methods that use active-learning strategies yield improved learning outcomes and student success across the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Yet, many college mathematics classes are not yet taught using such strategies. To address this problem, the project, PROfessional Development and Uptake through Collaborative Teams (PRODUCT): Supporting Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) in Undergraduate Mathematics through Workshops, Research and Capacity-Building, is designed to increase institutional capacity to offer professional development for instructors. The active learning strategy of focus, known as inquiry-based learning (IBL), places emphasis on student creation, exploration, communication, collaboration, and experimentation with mathematical concepts, under the mentorship and guidance of an instructor. Building directly on previously funded work that produced and studied a successful professional development workshop model, this project will develop multiple new teams to conduct workshops and outreach activities on IBL teaching strategies (known as a train the trainers propagation model). Research conducted alongside the workshop activities will contribute to knowledge about effective strategies for encouraging use of active learning approaches such as IBL, and for supporting instructors as they learn to apply and adapt these approaches in their own classrooms.
PRODUCT will conduct 12 four-day intensive IBL workshops, as well as 15 short workshops and five Professional Development (PD) Preparatory Meetings, and will host a Professional Development Summit for mathematics faculty developers. Through these activities, PRODUCT will directly provide professional development for 320 undergraduate mathematics faculty, adapt and improve IBL PD materials, develop multiple new teams of faculty developers who will be prepared to engage additional faculty in the future, and develop a framework for building professional development capacity. A research-with-evaluation study will provide formative feedback, study the process and outcomes for development of the professional development teams, gather data to benchmark workshops led by new teams against a model known to be effective, and investigate the classroom practices of workshop participants to understand how the professional development experience shapes their teaching. The project will produce new knowledge about scaling up professional development programs through a careful and collaborative process to prepare teams of faculty developers and provide them with well-supported leadership experiences.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: IUSE | Award Amount: 479.34K | Year: 2016
Engineering and computing education remains a critical ingredient for US competitiveness, workforce development, and technological supremacy now and into the future. Understanding the ways in which students succeed and fail in STEM majors, and developing powerful ways to support them, will pay dividends for our students, our institutions, and our nation. This project is completing the first national, comprehensive study of the role of non-cognitive and affective (NCA) factors, including personality, grit, identity, and many others, in student academic performance in undergraduate engineering curricula. Understanding the role of NCA factors allows the project to continue developing appropriate on-campus resources for students in need of academic or personal support. This project is demonstrating how NCA factors can indicate the kinds of support resources with highest potential to help students in need, thus enabling their continued academic success.
This project uses a mixed-methods design to explore the role of NCA factors in undergraduate engineering student academic success. Across the three partner institutions, which present diverse student bodies in multiple settings, survey, interview, and intervention data is being collected and correlated to academic performance as measured by course grades using a variety of statistical techniques including regression and topological data analysis. The project has important intellectual merit because it is the first project to systematically examine student academic performance in the face of specific obstacles as mediated by their NCA profile and cognitive makeup. It demonstrates broader impact by operationalizing the sameintervention in multiple settings, and recognizing the role of local context in the implementation and outcomes. The role of both traditionally-defined and latent diversity in answering the research questions holds important implications for the research and practitioner communities alike.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM | Award Amount: 49.00K | Year: 2017
The Faculty and Undergraduate Research Student Teams (FURST) program brings together small research groups comprised of undergraduate students and faculty from primarily undergraduate institutions (PUI) in order to provide them with a year-long research experience. The program also provides a one month long intensive summer immersion for its participants at an established summer REU site at Fresno State. FURST students get an opportunity to participate in professional workshops, presentations and academic discussions along with the REU students, whereas FURST faculty can take advantage of an on-site, in-person research collaboration with their peers within the FURST program. The programs main goal is to foster both student and faculty research at PUIs, with the specific goal of producing student and faculty authored publications, as well as presentations. The program is designed to be inclusive and accessible to teams from institutions with varying research focus and support, in order to mitigate cultural changes at institutions which may not consider research a quintessential component of higher education.
FURST students will be working on open problems in mathematics under the guidance of their faculty mentors. Research topics include community detection problems in networks, expanding the framework and analysis of the cop and robber game, the use of coarse Ricci curvature in data analysis and interpolation problems, the study and solution of the non-linear Riccati-Ermakov equation, as well as other non-linear dispersive partial differential equations. Strengthening their background in the selected research topic through readings and lecture at their home institutions will prepare FURST students to engage in research at the same speed as the REU students during the immersion phase. Students will be expected to submit the end product of their research for publication in a peer reviewed journal. FURST faculty will engage in solving open problems in their area of research while building collaborations with faculty at other institutions. Faculty are also expected to produce publishable work as a result of participating in the program. In accordance with the stated goals, the program will improve access to research for students at PUIs, where such opportunities are typically limited. It will also (re)-energize faculty at PUIs so that they remain active in research. By doing so, FURST will help transform the research culture at the participating institutions, especially since the bulk of the research activities will take place at FURST teams home institutions. While FURST student participants will learn skills through the program that are invaluable in graduate school and in the scientific workplace, the program will broadly impact the students at the involved PUIs by demonstrating to them (through student talks and presentations) that research can be part of the undergraduate educational experience. Finally, through the immersion in an active REU site, FURST students will gain exposure to the workings of an REU program, and will be able to make better informed choices about applying to REU as a potential next step in their academic development.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: IUSE | Award Amount: 298.95K | Year: 2016
Opportunities to conduct authentic research not only improve students understanding of science but also promote their self-identification as scientists. This project will explore the potential to positively transform undergraduate science education through student research seminars that are specifically structured to produce peer-reviewed journal articles based on students research within the confines of a single semester. At the outset of their college careers, students participating in this model will form student-managed teams within a supportive scientific community of practice. The seminars will teach the students how science really works through projects that they themselves plan and manage. By conducting and publishing scientific research, the students will become -- both technically and sociologically -- real scientists.
For the past decade, Cuesta College, a community college in San Luis Obispo, California, has offered an astronomy research seminar with the format described above. Over 150 students have completed the seminar as coauthors of published papers, primarily reporting observations of visual double stars. Recently, the seminar has also been offered by nearby California Polytechnic State University, a public institution, as well as by Concordia University, a private institution in Irvine, California. This project will expand the seminar model to other areas of observational astronomy beyond double stars (but still within the small-telescope community of practice), such as observations of exoplanet transits, binary star eclipses, and pulsating stars. The investigators will also expand the model into environmental science, featuring three types of atmospheric measurement: (1) the size, distribution, and morphology of small atmospheric particles; (2) infrared and Raman spectroscopy of particulate matter that settles from the atmosphere; and (3) atmospheric gas samples analyzed with infrared spectroscopy, gas chromatography, and mass spectrometry. Results will be correlated with local weather conditions, road traffic data, sample location, and special climatic events such as forest fires and Santa Ana winds. Through the Council on Undergraduate Research (a partner in the project), the investigators will assess opportunities for applying the seminars community-of-practice approach to other sciences beyond astronomy and environmental science and will organize a focus group of national education and policy experts, who will consider how to expand nationally and scaffold the research seminars paradigm of students as scientists within a community of practice. One of the projects contributions to STEM education research will be to examine the impact of the seminars malleable factors, moderators, and mediators on such student outcomes as motivation to become a scientist, critical thinking (enhanced by having research papers reviewed by other students, instructors, and external experts), improved project planning and management skills, writing skills, and preparing and giving presentations on research projects.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: POP & COMMUNITY ECOL PROG | Award Amount: 481.00K | Year: 2016
Scientists have long explained where particular species of animals are found by examining what we, as humans, see in the environment. For example, we know that the type and density of plants affect where sparrows can be found. However, many animals rely heavily on non-visual senses, such as hearing, when interacting with their surroundings and deciding where to live. Although the acoustic environment -- what animals hear -- may be important to many species, it remains largely unexplored as a force influencing where animals can be found. This project will examine the extent to which natural sounds, such as those generated by wind and water, influence where animals settle, how they interact with one another and, ultimately, how they structure entire communities. Focusing on birds and bats, the investigators will conduct a large-scale experiment in which they place many speakers in the forest to create phantom oceans and rivers -- the sounds of moving water without the water itself. This will allow them to figure out how sounds can change the way in which species interact with their environment and with each other. Specifically, this study will test how noise can explain where animals live, how they behave, and the extent to which they are impacted by human-made noise generated, for example, along major highways. This study will also provide research opportunities for undergraduate students at small universities and will result in an Acoustics in Ecology and Evolution workshop to teach young scientists how to incorporate acoustics into their own ecological field research.
Researchers will test for acoustic impacts on bird and bat communities in areas characterized by high levels of natural sounds from moving water (natural river and ocean surf sounds), low levels of natural sounds, high levels of artificially created natural sounds (phantom river and surf sounds), and spectrally-shifted, artificially created natural sounds. The latter two treatments will be generated via large-scale playbacks of sounds recorded elsewhere. The experimental approach of playing back natural sounds at different frequencies will allow researchers to parse the influence of acoustic masking versus more general effects of sounds (e.g., disturbance and distraction) on bird and bat behavior and on community structure. Researchers will also assess the potential role of low frequency natural sounds as acoustic beacons for habitat selection. Field work will entail a combination of behavioral experiments, bird, bat, arthropod and vegetation surveys, and spatially explicit quantification of the acoustic environment. Researchers will test hypotheses regarding how sounds structure communities directly by masking cues used for communication or predator/prey detection, directly via elevated perceived risk through a reduction in auditory surveillance, or indirectly by altering prey distributions.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Space Weather Research | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2017
A small satellite with a miniature mass spectrometer (referred to as INMS) as the centerpiece instrument and including all telemetry, communication and attitude control systems has been designed, the instrumental parts fabricated, and what remains is the integration of these parts required to achieve delivery by the spring of 2017. The purpose of this CUBESAT satellite mission is to provide in-situ densities of atmospheric species near 500 km, on a global scale. This satellite, named EXOCUBE 2, follows directly on the EXOCUBE mission that had a similar scientific scope. EXOCUBE suffered communication problems due to an antenna deployment system failure, and one attitude control system gravity boom also failed. Nevertheless, the key science package, the neutral and ion mass spectrometer, did perform as expected and a small amount of data retrieved indicated the efficacy of that instrument, which flew for the first time, on EXOCUBE.
The rationale justifying a RAPID proposal for EXOCUBE 2 is that this satellite mission is manifested to fly on the NASA Educational Launch of Nanosat (ELaNa) launch queue in the fall of 2017. Achieving this date would require the ExoCube-2 satellite delivery to take place within the spring of 2017. The proposed work would rapid assemble and integrate the mass spectrometer and satellite bus to meet this demanding one-year schedule. The very short development time and minimal cost is made possible by the legacy experience and materials left over from the previous flight of the EXOCUBE satellite that unfortunately failed owing to the failure of the deployment of the telemetry transmitting antenna.
Polytechnic University of Mozambique | Date: 2016-03-31
A fuel cell catalyst support material with self-healing and service on the fly properties. The material is stable and can preserve a fuel cells activity over an extended lifetime. The approach strikes a practical balance between the optimum size of the electrocatalyst particle and the ability of the support material to self-heal under electrochemical stress. The self-healing support material allows the use of very small catalyst particles size without affecting the fuel cells durability. This not only increases the efficiency of the fuel cell but also allows low PGM loading.