July 27, 2001
CONTACT: Jeanne Oswald
(609) 292-4310

New Jersey Higher Education Commission Awards
High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grants to Colleges and Universities

The New Jersey Commission on Higher Education today awarded a total of $15 million in grants to eight New Jersey colleges and universities for the enhancement of successful technology-related programs to help satisfy burgeoning demand for qualified workers in the state's high-tech economy.

"The road to developing a world class economy in New Jersey begins with high-tech workforce training. The world we send our graduates into each year is continually becoming more global, and they need up-to-date technical skills to succeed," said acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco. "By providing greater investment in the programs that supply these skills we respond directly to the needs of New Jersey's employers."

For the second year in a row, the Commission awarded High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grants in four pivotal academic areas that improve the state's position in the global marketplace:

The competitively awarded grants will disseminate leading edge technological teaching and learning throughout the state's higher education system. Six of the winning proposals focus directly on developing skilled employees for the ever-expanding pharmaceutical, biotechnology, health care, and information technology industries. The remaining three grants prepare students with advanced math and science proficiencies to begin developing the pool of qualified high-tech workers for the future.

The recommended proposals address various academic disciplines, but they share some key features. For example, each program is geared toward high-tech workforce needs; each will build on a program already recognized for its high quality; and each program will be sustained by the recipient institution beyond the one to three years of state grant funding.

"The Acting Governor and the higher education community are working in tandem to build a world class economy in New Jersey," said Commission Chairman Alfred C. Koeppe. "The Commission strives to play an integral role in ensuring that our institutions of higher learning prepare the workforce needed by business and industry and drive the discovery and application of knowledge."

"New Jersey is a national leader in high-tech firms and associated employment," added Koeppe, who is President and Chief Operating Officer of Public Service Electric and Gas Co. in Newark. "Through these grants we aim to strengthen academic programs and provide the human resources necessary to support these firms and their research and development needs."

The competitive High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grant Program emanates from New Jersey's Plan for Higher Education: 1999 Update, which calls on colleges and universities to identify their strongest programs and advance them further to become the best in the region, the nation, or the world. The higher education strategic plan also calls for supplemental state funding to assist institutions showing strong evidence of institutional planning and leadership in areas that coincide with state goals.

The nine winning institutions are: Bergen Community College (Paramus), Camden County College (Blackwood), Essex County College (Newark), Montclair State University (Upper Montclair), New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark), Rider University (Lawrenceville), Rowan University (Glassboro), Rutgers University (2 grants) (New Brunswick).

The nine awards were selected from among 58 proposals submitted by colleges and universities in all sectors of the higher education system. Each winning proposal was reviewed by two separate teams of reviewers from in and out of state.

A brief description of the winning proposals is attached.
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High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grants
Awarded by the Commission on Higher Education July 27, 2001

Bergen Community College
High Technology Veterinary Technician Project
Through Bergen Community College, County College of Morris, and Sussex County Community College, the Northern NJ Consortium for Veterinary Technician Education will upgrade and enhance its Associate in Applied Science Degree to better meet workforce needs in the fields of biomedical/biotechnology research and veterinary health care. Improvements will include: a new high-tech veterinary surgical center at Bergen Community College; an upgraded Laboratory Animal and Clinical Research Laboratory at County College of Morris; and the creation of a new Sussex County Community College Vertebrate Animal Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory, a Student Independent Study Laboratory, and ITV Classroom.

Camden County College
Fiber Optics Technology Workforce Excellence Project
The grant will build on the college's Photonics Associate Degree Program with a specific objective of introducing a new, one-year concentrated certificate in fiber optics for the growing laser/telecommunications industry. It will allow the college to add training opportunities, enhance the curriculum, enrich students' hands-on experiences with state-of-the-art technology, implement a student recruitment plan with a focus on diversity, develop marketing strategies and linkages with businesses, and provide professional development opportunities for faculty and staff.

Essex County College
Enhancing Network Certification Program
Addressing the explosive growth in employment of computing professionals both nationally and locally, Essex County College will enhance its Network Certification programs housed at their Center for Technology and will help increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the information technology field. Identified by the U.S. Department of Labor as one of seven successful "contextual learning" programs that provide mostly unemployed persons the opportunity to reenter the workforce, Essex County College's network technology and microcomputer hardware training areas will be enhanced to increase capacity and greater serve students. The grant will provide for the purchase of hardware, including 50 more microcomputers for two additional labs; professional development opportunities for faculty; and marketing programs that will lead to certifications in Cisco Certified Network Professionals (CCNP) and Oracle Certified Professionals (OCP).

Montclair State University
MGM-STEP (Middle Grade Mathematics Science Teacher Education Project)
Building on the university's regional and national prominence in teacher education, the grant will enable the school to recruit, prepare, and support 60 new math and science teachers for public schools. In addition, the grant will provide a multi-layered, content-based professional development program that features summer institutes, mini-courses, a new M.A. program and certificate program in middle school math, a new concentration in middle school math in their M.Ed. program, an on-line support and professional development program, and classroom coaching and mentoring. Overall, more than 500 teachers will be directly impacted by the grant.

New Jersey Institute of Technology
Pre-Engineering Instructional and Outreach Program
As the number of students selecting engineering as a major is declining, workplace demand for qualified engineers is rapidly increasing. To help reverse this negative trend, grant funds will support implementation of pre-engineering education, grades 6-12, and will help launch a comprehensive information campaign to significantly increase student interest in science, engineering, mathematics and technology. The program will help enlarge the future pool of qualified, high-tech workers, including historically underrepresented minorities and women, by implementing a career performance assessment in partnership with the National Action Council for Minority Engineering. Pre-engineering curriculum in middle and high schools also will be enhanced and developed to meet the instructional classroom needs of teachers.

Rider University
SELECT-VLC: High-Tech Support for a Continuum of Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics
Utilizing the power of wireless technology and full-motion, two-way, interactive audio/video and computer conferencing, Rider University will create a distributed learning community and engage future and present teachers in a variety of active learning modes without the traditional constraints of lecture, lab, workshop, inservice and computing time. The grant project will help infuse science, math, and pedagogy courses with technology to model how students will be expected to teach when they are practitioners and to facilitate preservice and inservice teachers' use of inquiry-based teaching.

Rowan University
Expanding the Educational Opportunities for Undergraduates in the Study of Advanced Materials for Commercial Applications
Through the combined efforts of the rapidly growing programs in chemistry, physics, and engineering at Rowan University, the grant will help support organization of new courses and augment equipment for the program component of materials science. Forming the basis for many innovations in technology, materials science research is directly applicable to the solution of problems in materials development and has commercial utility in a diversity of fields, including cellular communications, drug delivery, and information storage. In addition, the grant will provide for faculty development, the establishment of a Summer Institute in Materials Science for high school students, and scholarship assistance for qualified minorities.

Rutgers University
Nanomaterials Science and Engineering (NMSE): An Enabling Paradigm Shift for Photonics, Energy, Electronics, and Biology
According to the National Science and Technology Council, nanotechnology -which involves behavior and control of materials and processes at the atomic and molecular levels, will have a significant impact on the future growth of a broad array of high-technology industries. In direct response to this impact and growing workforce needs, Rutgers will develop a dynamic, state-of-the-art interdisciplinary undergraduate curriculum in nanomaterials science and engineering that readily complements a major nanomaterials research thrust at Rutgers. Through collaboration across knowledge domains, cutting edge scientific skills will be introduced at the undergraduate level and will include four new lecture courses and three lab courses. The grant would support new faculty, a cooperative program with industry, and a summer internship program for 20 high school students.

Rutgers University
New Directions for the High-Tech Computer Science Workforce
Through e-learning and traditional classroom teaching, this project will expand instruction in key computer science areas, including computer vision, animation, and graphics (such as modeling techniques for medical imaging). In addition, the nationally-ranked Computer Science Department will use grant funds to develop scalable asynchronous e-learning tools to increase student capacity, develop a new undergraduate computer science course to emphasize teamwork in software development, and expand the pool of qualified instructors and mentors through faculty hires and additional student teaching assistants.

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