Advisory Board Invitation

Date, 2008 ADDRESS 
I am writing to invite you to become a member of a new Advisory Board.  The advisory board serves an important role in guiding a community-building project entitled A Collaborative Process to Align Computing Education with Engineering Workforce Needs (CPACE). This National Science Foundation-funded research project focuses on improving the computing skills of graduates in engineering and technology to better prepare the engineering workforce of tomorrow.  CPACE involves collaboration among the MSU College of Engineering, the Collegeof Natural Science, LansingCommunity College, and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce. We believe that your knowledge expertise and understanding of the importance that computational skills play in today's engineering practices will complement the efforts of our team and advance the goal of the project.

The project initially will target the regional economies of Michigan and parts of the Midwest, but the methods developed and information gathered in our project will be disseminated nationwide. The intent of the CPACE project is to develop a collaborative process for engaging business and industry along with post-secondary education institutions (i.e., Michigan State University and Lansing Community College) to better understand and align computing education with the knowledge and skill development needs of the engineering workforce.  More information about CPACE is available at our web site at 

We hope that you agree that this is a great opportunity to collaboratively identify curricular opportunities and foster curriculum change to meet the continually shifting workforce needs of our economy.

We are enclosing more detailed information about the CPACE community-building project and what your role would be if you decided to participate.  Please review this document.  We hope you share our vision of how important and fruitful your participation would be.

The initial meeting of the CPACE Advisory Board will be held on Thursday, April 24, 2008, from 10 AM until 1 PM in the Engineering Building at MichiganStateUniversity. 

Our project coordinator, Dr. Mark Urban-Lurain will be contacting you within the next couple of weeks to discuss the project, determine your interest in participating, and answer any questions you may have.  Or, if you prefer, please contact him directly via phone at (517) 432-2152 x 119 or by e-mail at

Thank you in advance for your kind consideration.  Sincerely,

Thomas F. Wolff, Ph.D., P.E.

Principal Investigator, CPACE Project

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies



CPACE Advisory Board FAQ


CPACE (A Collaborative Process to Align Computing Education with Engineering Workforce Needs) is a community building project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a collaborative process for engaging business and industry along with post-secondary education institutions to better understand and align computing education with the knowledge and skill development needs of the engineering workforce.


American industries require employees with strong computation-based problem solving skills. Traditionally, industry needs have been couched in terms proficiency with specific applications rather than around functional capabilities. Also traditionally, academic institutions developed curricula that address disciplinary principles independent of industry needs. The CPACE project seeks to address these problems by developing innovative solutions to help industry and higher education meet societal needs for an improved engineering workforce.


CPACE will develop, implement, and evaluate a process to create an academic/industry community as a lynchpin of curricular change. The specific project goal is to demonstrate the process in the context of meeting business and industry need for computational problem solving in a way that can be generalized across other academic fields.




CPACE's Principal Investigator is Tom Wolff, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies at MichiganState University's (MSU) CollegeofEngineering.  Supporting MSU as the lead institution are Lansing Community College, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, Western Michigan University (evaluation), and representatives of ABET, Inc., a national accrediting body for post-secondary engineering programs.  


The project will support efforts of the Mid-Michigan Innovation Team (MMIT) and other region's engaged in the US Department of Labor's Workforce Innovations in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) initiative.


The CPACE implementation team is convening an advisory group representing a mix of business, industry and academic representatives who understand 21st century computational skills that engineers of today and tomorrow will need to successfully compete on the job.  We have invited you because we see you as meeting most of the following characteristics:

-        Understand and appreciate the important role computational skills play in 21stcentury engineering practice;

-        Have a professional interest/stake in the project, which is expected to extend through August, 2009;

-        Have technical engineering expertise and understand (and anticipate) the field's computational needs; and

-        Represent at least one cross section of the following engineering disciplines: computer/computer science, chemical, mechanical, industrial, electrical, bio-agricultural, civil, and applied.

Participants from business, industry and academia should be able to provide perspectives on their sectors' needs for computational applications in engineering, with academic stakeholders also being in a position eventually to affect curricular change.  We will rely on business, industry, professional associations, and professional society representatives to connect us to their peers and members who can provide input through interviews and surveys about how to improve engineering-related computational skills.


CPACE partners will participate in regular quarterly meetings with well-qualified engineering stakeholders representing business and academia.  Mindful of those with long distances to travel and of people's already busy schedules, we will integrate a mix of in-person and video conferences, with the former typically held at Michigan StateUniversity's East Lansing campus.  The purpose of the meetings will be to provide strategic direction for the project's implementation. The CPACE implementation team will provide video conferencing infrastructure, a listserv, and wiki/interactive website that will house project information, messages, and other critical communications.


Contact:          Mark Urban-Lurain, Ph.D.
Director of Instructional Technology Research & Development
Division of Science and Mathematics Education
College of Natural Science Michigan State University
111 N. Kedzie Lab                Voice: (517) 432-2152 x 119
East Lansing, MI  48824      Fax:   (517) 432-5653          

More information on the CPACE web site: