Published: Aug. 3, 2000

CU-Boulder engineering Dean Ross Corotis led a national workshop on engineering education reform July 28 in which he detailed the college’s successful Integrated Teaching and Learning program and groundbreaking Discovery Learning Initiative for other college educators.

Project Kaleidoscope’s 2000 Summer Institute, held in Keystone, Colo., highlighted the nation’s best practices in reforming undergraduate programs to improve student learning in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. Leaders from CU-Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science were asked to make a presentation based on the college’s multiyear record of innovation in engineering education.

Associate Dean Michael Lightner and aerospace engineering Professor Brian Argrow, along with senior aerospace student Meredith Larson, joined Corotis in giving the three-hour workshop.

The College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU-Boulder set a national standard for interdisciplinary, hands-on education with its Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory and program launched in 1997. This unique laboratory and accompanying curricular reforms allow students to use the same approach used by professional engineers to analyze a problem and design, simulate, build and test a solution.

The ITL Laboratory, which features an "inside-out" design that allows students to view and monitor building systems, hosts thousands of visitors annually from K-12 and higher education. Members of the Society of College and University Planners were among those who toured the facility this summer during their national convention.

The college’s Discovery Learning Initiative also has received national attention as a new model for integrating research and learning at one of the nation’s top-tier research institutions. The initiative creates collaborative teams of undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctorate fellows, faculty and industry partners to investigate and solve current research problems.

"This new approach prepares our students for careers of innovation and leadership, which is only possible in the unique setting of an outstanding research college," said Corotis, who led development of the Discovery Learning Initiative.

The college hosted an academic/industry conference on the Discovery Learning model in May, in conjunction with the groundbreaking for the new Discovery Learning Center, a $15.3 million research and learning facility projected to open in fall 2001. The DLC will house nine laboratories working in the areas of biomaterials, environmental engineering, information technology and space sciences, along with videoconferencing and other group areas where teams can collaborate on projects.

The Discovery Learning Center and Initiative have been endorsed by key industry leaders, including Stephen D. Bechtel Jr., chairman emeritus of Bechtel Group, who praised the college for its "outstanding work in improving their teaching techniques and curriculum, and in serving the engineering profession for the benefit of the state of Colorado and our country."