CPACE Advisory Board Meeting Minutes 04-24-08

CPACE Advisory Board Meeting Minutes

Date: April 24, 2008                           Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Location: Michigan State University,East Lansing MI

Participants listed by group:

CPACE Team Members:

Michigan State University (MSU): Daina Briedis, Neeraj Buch, Jon Sticklen, Mark Urban-Lurain, Claudia Vergara, Tom Wolff

Lansing Community College (LCC): Louise Paquette

Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW): Cindee Dresen, Kysha Frazier, Lisa Katz, Jeannine La Prad

Science and Mathematics Program Improvement (SAMPI): Mark Jenness, Pete Vunovich

Consultant ABET: Dr. Joe Turner Professor Emeritus of Computer Science Clemson University

Advisory Board Members:

-         Benjamin H. Baker. Director, Chassis & PT Interface, GMNA Electrical

-         Thomas Crampton. Executive Dean. Mott Community College Regional Technology Initiatives

-         Mary Ann Dolehanty Supervisor Thermal Process Unit, Permit Section Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Air Quality Division

-         David Hollister President Prima Civitas Foundation

-         Chris Knapp Executive Director Capital Area Information Technology Council

-           Thomas Mathes Executive Director Product Development
Substituting for Mr. Mathes: Mr. Robert Washburn, Senior Research Electrical Engineer and Mrs. Jillian McDonald, Special Project Officer.

-         Michael McDonald Supply Chain Manager Global Propylene Oxide and Glycols North America Polyurethanes

-         James Millhench Chief Operating Officer Bordener Engineered Surfaces.
Accompanying Mr. Millhench: Mr Chris Surbrook

-         Garth Motschenbacher Director of Employer Relations College of Engineering / Career Services Network Michigan State University

-         John Polasek Chief Operations Officer Michigan Department of Transportation

-         Gary Woodrough Director of Engineering Symmetry Medical

MSU dignitaries:

-         Satish Udpa Dean of Engineering Michigan State University

-         Kim Wilcox Provost Michigan State University

Networking breakfast from 9:30 am to 10:00 am

Welcome from Provost Wilcox

Welcome and introductions
Thomas F. Wolff, PI, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies

Welcome from Dean Udpa

People introduced themselves.

Lisa Katz, CSW-CPACE Project Team, Senior Policy Associate, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce
Card exercise. Flip Chart Summary (Cindee)

Overview of CPACE Project
Mark Urban-Lurain, co-PI, Director of Instructional Technology Research & Development, Division of Science & Mathematics Education

Role of Advisory Board Mark Urban-Lurain, co-PI


C. Surbrook: Are student internships voiced here? Are we using students perspectives based on experiences they gathered through internships to help understand what the immediate needs are.

Mark: Really good suggestion. This was not in our view screen.

B. Baker: What about post graduation surveys 1, 2, 4 years after graduation.

Neeraj: What is it that we as instructors expect from employers? What kind of life long training will the employers provide?

Tom: We surveyed the employers asking where the employers expected the students to get all the necessary skills. We had some concerns that employers expected all to come from here (MSU) but that was not the case. Employers thought that there are several things that come from here but also from them and other places.

Daina: We also have representatives and stakeholders in the room that can be wearing different hats at the same time for example they can be doing the supervisor, or strategic adviser role and also have contact with people who supervise coops or interns so even the people in the room could provide some insights. My point is wear as many hats as are relevant.

Role of Advisory Board
Jon Sticklen, co-PI, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering


B. Baker: I want to know the difference between integrating something into the curriculum vs changing the curriculum.

Jon: Is a change when is integrated but there have been attempts to change the curriculum in a wholesale way. There have been some projects that have been successful using lots of money but it has not been broadly applied that way. Our way would be to sprinkle changes in the curriculum through many courses that exist now, is a way of doing a vertical integration to the curriculum. This is not part of this project; it is part of the following project.

Tom: I want to add to that; making changes in course objectives and course details rather that the courses.

B. Baker: Because I hear the curriculum is full and we can not add more to it.

Tom: That's right. It's more how you do some things in those courses.

Jon: For example, instead of doing all of the problem sets with paper and pencil you are doing some of it with the computer and there are many courses now that apply computing but we think that there can be more.

Tom: But this is not currently done in a coordinated way.

Jon: And not so that our graduates come out with a sense of pervasive computing or what Dr. Turner called computer thinking.

Jeannine: How do the project and company or workforce lines connect into the curriculum?

Jon: The nature of the Ad Board is to examine our results and where we are in the process working towards curriculum extension and getting the feedback from that work place.

D. Hollister: Is this being applied in the eng. school or the whole college or the whole university?

Jon: This is being applied in the college of eng . I have to tell you that there have not been a buy-in of all college faculty saying yes we subscribe; that is part of the implementation grant, we need to convince people. Curricula do not get changed because the dean says to change it, it gets changed because faculty are convinced that it is a good idea, so at the end of this project and when we have a clear idea as to how the curriculum should be changed then we have the job of convincing our colleagues.

Mark: To follow up on that point. The original call from NSF was broadly for undergraduate computing education. If we figure out how to integrate computer science within the college of eng there is not great leap to move into other areas.

Jon: There is another side; these should go in the transformation grant to other universities and stakeholders.

Jeannine: One of the things that CSW is looking at is about the process and the model and the application to other schools and businesses not only here at MSU but broader.

Jon: The deliverable to NSF is the process so that it can be applied in other situations.

Overview of Data Collection Strategy
Mark Urban-Lurain, co-PI
Cindee Dresen, CSW-CPACE Project Manager, Director of Operations, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce


G. Motschenbacher: Where is computer science? (Slide 24)

Jon: The reason is not there is because the project is aimed at the other parts of eng. Because comp science is a major there are lots of other projects dealing with computer science education for majors this is for non-computer science majors and in particular all engs and their computing skills.

Overview and Discussion of Engagement Strategies
Kysha Frazier, CSW-CPACE Project Team, Senior Policy Associate, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce


1)      Does the engagement strategy make sense?

M. McDonald: Are we willing to provide the results of the surveys to the people involved? I speak for our own company they are always seeking out what other groups are seeing and saying about the same questions and that alone would make them want to participate.

Mark: That should not be a problem

B. Baker: Is there a targeted number of data points you are seeking?

Kysha: 25 interviews and 250 surveys.

B. Baker: Is there a danger of too many?

Tom: When you split this across five to ten or so disciplines and fifteen industry sectors then you start adding numbers. Discipline and industry sector should form a matrix.

M. Mc Donald: Are you going to ask each of the Ad B to provide 3 or 4 people not necessarily from the same organization?

Cindee: Whatever networks or contacts make sense to you trying to get at the representation that we are looking at.

2)      How do you view your role in engaging others to participate in research?

J. Polasek: I can take a lead role in talking to professional organizations: American Council of eng companies (many firms are members of this), we work with MI infrastructure groups, the concrete organization and several other organizations and they all have engs. There are also contracting organizations, MI municipal would be a link to cities and villages. There are quite a few on the public sector side.

J. Millhench: Make a formal introduction and make people understand that I am fully behind it, not just hand you a name.

G. Motschenbacher: How long does the interview takes?

Kysha: Less than an hour.

G. Motschenbacher: Is that something that only a set number of people on the group do? I mean who conducts the interview.

Cindee: The members of the research team will be doing the interviews mainly the people from CSW.

G. Motschenbacher: The reason I ask is because there is a number of engagement committees that I am part of and we visit lots of employers during the summer and many I think would be good targets, so as we look at those it would be beneficial to share our travel schedule and if folks are willing to travel along that would certainly be beneficial.

Cindee: We would definitely want to leverage other travel schedules.

Jeannine: In this case we can also consider having a protocol that somebody else could use.

B. Washburn: When looking at short term benefits if you are asking to take an hour of someone's day that could be at a lunch and people perhaps would be more enticed.

Tom: NSF does not give money for food. But it is a good suggestion.

B. Baker: Clarify surveys and interviews. You can envision that if you have an employer that employer would have a list of questions that you might be asking and then they go to their supervisors and managers and get input and then would you interview them?Does the survey go out to the manager and supervisors within that company?

Cindee: The surveys are for the employees.

B. Baker: Ok surveys for employees and interviews for employers (manager or directors) then I would suggest they would need something to ask their individual managers that have engs working for them to gather information before the interview.

Cindee: We will send the protocol in advance. The demographics related type of questions would be send in advance.

B. Baker: You mean you would send the questions in advance so that they are prepared.

Cindee: Yes

Kysha: Are we talking to the right people? For the large companies we want the people with the day to day experience.

Neeraj: For the electronic survey. Are you going to appraise them that they are going to get it because many surveys show up and they are just discarded so if for example J. Polasek made a pitch that they might get a survey at least they will read it.

Kysha: This initial connection is very important.

G. Motschenbacher: Since your initial target is mid-MI have you been in touch with the mid-MI human resources association? They should be on your list.

Kysha: They are on our list.

D. Hollister: Are you doing this on the public domain? Do you have a press strategy?

Mark: Great idea

M. McDonald: Some of the larger companies you may inquire about what data they have already collected I know we just recently went through a survey process for what employees thought was future computing needs within the company if they are willing to share that. You might need to go through me to get that data and I know that GM and others also do this kind of thing.

3)      Are there other ways to optimize your role?

M. McDonald: I think that you should make us accountable as far as helping the deliverables. You may want to help us be more responsible for trying to help deliver the end result.

G. Motschenbacher: We (Mike and I) are going to be with the placement advisory group for the university May 19-21 in Dearborn so we could probably set up 10 key organizations.

M. McDonald: Absolutely, and there are many representative companies on that group that have a mid-Mi presence Tardec, Ford, Dow, Microsoft.

Jeannine: We also had talked about having a set of speaking points for the Ad Board members so that if you are engaging someone we are on the same page.

4)      What do you feel is the value proposition?

J. Polasek: Less training for the employee when they enter the workforce or better directed training.

G. Motschenbacher: Sharing out. Companies all know what they do but sometimes they are reluctant to talk to each other about it, so using the university as the middle player and doing the survey and then sharing it with large and small companies would be very helpful.

5)      What else should be considered?

Tom: Having a stake in MI new economy.

C. Surbrook: Are you working at all with MI works as far as the information they gather from the recently unemployed and people re-entering the work force? That might be another source of information people that recently left the workforce and what do they feel they need to re-enter the work force.

Kysha: I don't think we have covered that. We are covering new entrances to the work force.

Tom: Relevant to that is that LCC is a partner here and most of those people would go and get a technical degree over the summer.

Jeannine: The IT council is connected to it and they are all connected through the MMIT

B. Baker: Have you considered using mid-MI and MI media to publish your activity and have a wiki search engine that would offer the opportunity to people to contribute.

Mike: This may be a local effort and we want to make sure that we consider issues around competitiveness against other geographies, what would keep jobs here as far as technical and computer related skills? What would be needed to interact with other geographies?

J. Polasek: If we start this effort and the survey is too long and people start complaining we need to make sure that we can change and evolve if it is going too slow.

What other methods to help you engage between the AB meetings?

-         RSS feed

-         E-mails (to point at the wiki)

-         Wiki important to minimize the e-mails

-         List of contact information

Closing and Next Steps
Thomas F. Wolff, PI, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies

Tom talked about the nature of curriculum reform. Can jumpstart curriculum reform efforts by getting these results and communicate them to the faculty environment.

Meeting adjourned.

Networking Lunch


  •         The Ad Board members are very energetic and taken with the project. They seem to understand that the major objective is to extract key computing concepts across disciplines that can be utilized for curricular reform. (process application: Taking time to choose an AB with the adequate characteristics is very important)
  •         Process application: Sample identification. During our primary research meetings, we concluded that this would be better informed after the Ad Board meeting by leveraging the connections that they have. Specific examples are the use of associations/societies for employee surveys. Our conclusion is sustained by the AB meeting observations. To illustrate this point, the AB offered:

    -    To provide contacts from their organization and elsewhere

    -    Take a lead role in talking to professional organizations

    -    Formally introduce the project and personally and fully endorse it

    -    When ready to send the surveys/interviews provide support in the way of informing/asking their staff to be aware of the surveys.

    -    Access to relevant data/information that their companies already have.

    -    AB members accountability to help deliver the end result.

  • AB ideas/suggestions:

    -    Sample identification:

1)     AB members participate on engagement committees which gives them access to potential targets. They offer to share travel schedule.

2)     Alternatively, we should also consider having a protocol that somebody else could use (i.e. AB member). Set of speaking points for the Ad Board members.

3)     Have a project presence at the placement advisory group for MSU (May 19-21 in DearbornMI). We could probably set up 10 key organizations. Perhaps to pilot interviews.

    -    Engagement:

1)     Offer to provide the results of the surveys to the people involved that would make them want to participate.

2)     Have a press strategy

    -    Instruments:

1)     To use students perspectives based on experiences they gathered through internships to help understand immediate needs

2)     Post graduation surveys 1, 2, 4 years after graduation

3)     For the interviews offer a lunch setting as a possibility.

4)     Managers and directors would need information about the interviews to ask their individual managers that have engs working for them to gather appropriate information before the interview .

    -    Organizations suggested:

1)     Mid-MI human resources association.

2)     MI works.

3)     American Council of Eng Companies

4)     MI infrastructure groups, MI municipal, concrete organizations, contracting organizations, public sector organizations.

    -    Additional points:

1)     Competitiveness against other geographies, what would keep jobs here as far as technical and computer related skills? What would be needed to interact with other geographies?

2)     Change and evolve if necessary.

CE Vergara; this is a very important point; we discussed having more than one people in the interview if necessary. One of the important points that we need to get from the interviews are specific examples about the impact of the software (tools) in the task of the engineer. This might only be answered by the eng doing the work. This also points towards envisioning future computing trends that will radically change the nature of the job. I think that this was his point and we stirred things toward demographics and simple preparation for the interview.

CPACE follow up after meeting:

    Follow up on the specifics:

    1)    J. Polasek; lead role in talking to professional organizations.

    2)    G. Motschenbacher; part of a number of engagement committees. Summer visits. We need to identify potential targets, decide on strategy do we travel or do we ask him to do the interviews. (Consider having a protocol that somebody else could use. Set of speaking points for the Ad Board members)

    3)    D. Hollister; press strategy.

    4)    M. McDonald; data already collected. We need to decide what kind of data would be useful to us and ask the AB members if their companies have this and are willing to give it to us. First contact M. McDonald can get us a survey process for what employees thought was future computing needs within the company.

    5)    G. Motschenbacher and M. McDonald; placement advisory group for MSU May 19-21 in Dearborn so we could probably set up 10 key organizations. We need to identify potential targets, decide on strategy do we travel or do we ask him to do the interviews. (Consider having a protocol that somebody else could use. Set of speaking points for the Ad Board members).