The University of Colorado at Boulder's department of aerospace engineering sciences and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics have been jointly named one of five Programs of Excellence statewide by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education for 1997.
The Programs of Excellence competition was founded in 1988 by the Colorado Legislature to reward colleges and universities with outstanding educational programs. The Legislature annually provides winners special state funding as part of the award to enhance existing programs.
Pending legislative approval, CU-Boulder's aerospace programs will be awarded $200,000 in funding for the first year. Additional state funding totaling more than $1 million is expected to be allocated to the joint CU-Boulder program over the next four years.
CU-Boulder's aerospace engineering program focuses on astrodynamics and remote sensing, fluid dynamics, structures and controls, and spacecraft design and operations. The CCHE funds will be used to enhance curriculum development and to continue collaborations with CU-Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics on undergraduate participation in space mission design, construction and flight, said aerospace engineering sciences department Chair Richard Seebass.
Other winning programs and their recommended first-year funding levels included the Adams State College Music Program ($175,000); the Aims Community College Aviation Technology Program ($138,500); the Colorado School of Mines Chemical Engineering Program ($200,000); and the Colorado State University Veterinary Medicine Program ($150,000).
The five winning programs were selected from 33 proposals.
Each of the programs were recognized for excellence because they expose students to educational experiences unavailable elsewhere, according to the CCHE. The commission considered the quality of the faculty, student accomplishments and innovative learning approaches in selecting the winning programs.
Some of the state funding to CU-Boulder is expected to be used for flight operations of the Student Nitric Oxide Explorer satellite slated for launch this summer. The $4.3 million spacecraft, designed and built primarily by engineering undergraduates working at LASP, will measure the influence of nitric oxide on the temperature and composition of the middle atmosphere.
Funds also will be used for enhancing the aerospace curriculum using the engineering college's new Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory. The ITLL is a $17 million facility opening this month that will provide undergraduates with hands-on experience in engineering design and development using the latest computerized tools.