Seidenberg Professor Writes Winning Paper

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Dr. Thomas (second from right) receiving her award.

Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) just announced the winners for best paper under the topic of “Leading Transformation to Sustainable Excellence.” Among the winners was Dr. Jennifer D.E. Thomas for a paper entitled “The Effect of Delivery Method on Persistence, Performance and Perceptions,” which she researched and wrote in tandem with two professors, Danielle Morin and Samie Li Shang Ly, from Concordia University, Canada.

The paper took into account the different delivery methods of courses for undergraduate students. With a rise in online classes in today’s culture – especially at Pace, where we rank at 3rd best in the nation for online undergraduate courses – it’s important to study the new methods of learning so that, as challenges and innovations arise, universities can analyze them in order to enhance educational practices. Thomas, Ly, and Morin looked at classes that were completely online as well as classes that were a hybrid between online and traditional practices.

From the extended abstract of the paper, the conclusion of their research is summarized as,

“The results of the studies conducted in this paper support the need for a hybrid model of learning, which augments in-class lectures with a level of online component. This would tend to imply the need to carefully evaluate MOOC’s [Massive Online Open Courses] before widespread adoption of them is made. Monetary expediency should not trump wise pedagogy.”

We extend the heartiest of congratulations to Dr. Thomas and her partners in research for their excellence!

 

Carol Wolf: A Life in Academia

Carol Wolf, one of Seidenberg’s professors, has had quite a life in academia and education before joining our program  in 1986, only a couple years after Seidenberg was founded in 1983. Born during the Great Depression, Professor Wolf grew up with parents who, both being academics, were adamant that she and her older brother receive a full education. Wolf began working at age 16, for a whopping 55 cents an hour (much to her delight), at a local soda fountain and, soon afterward, the library. These jobs were Wolf’s introduction into not only the work-world, but the work-worlds dominated by women, which were rare, given that this was during the early 1950s.

Wolf, in an interview with a student, stated that she knew from an early age that she wanted to be a mathematics professor. She then brought up the obstacles she faced as woman in the male-dominated field of mathematical academia. She started her work in teaching as a teaching assistant for a three-dimensional calculus course at Cornell University. The class she taught was a sophomore-level class of all males who did not trust that a woman could teach engineers. The students tested Wolf on a daily basis, asking her to work through the hardest questions in their textbooks. She explained that she didn’t realize it was a test until two or three weeks in, when the students also realized that she was not only incredibly capable of solving the problems with ease, but also skilled in teaching the material to the class while doing so.

Every year she taught, she experienced a similar series of tests from students who were unaccustomed to having women teach in their field. Wolf points out that she was one of two women in the department, and the only one who taught full-time. Her experience with gender bias at Cornell was not unusual in universities at the time. She mentioned a friend who, while teaching at Harvard, was told by a professor that she had no business being in mathematics — it was not a women’s field.

Things changed when Professor Wolf found Seidenberg. Our school was started by a woman, Susan Merrit, who was once the Chair of CS on Westchester’s campus. Considering the fact that Professor Wolf is still with us at Seidenberg today, it’s clear that this position has been a great fit for her, professionally.

Wolf, in her own words, shares with fellow women who are learning and working in a predominantly male field that, “the thing is, there is this stereotype of the nerd sitting in the basement programming or studying all day, and that’s not what life is like. There are all sorts of interesting things you can do. I think women maybe provide their own reasons not to do it, but as far as any intrinsic ones, the field is open.

We celebrate Wolf’s talents and enthusiasm here at Seidenberg. It’s not easy to trudge through the politics that can surround academic fields of work, but thankfully Professor Wolf has made it through. There is still progress to be made, especially for women and minorities, but it is pioneers like Wolf who show us how it’s done right.

 

FTC is Happening THIS WEEKEND

The FIRST [For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology] Tech Challenge (FTC) Championship is happening this weekend, on Sunday February 16th, as we briefly mentioned in a recent post. With the date fast approaching, we’re eager to tell you more about the event.

FIRST Tech Challenge allows high school students to work hand-in-hand with technical professionals to develop a solution to the annual challenge. Students design and construct robotic devices which can be autonomously programmed or operator-controlled to perform various tasks. ”  – FIRST web page

FTC is an annual tournament for students of ages 12-18, lasting from September, when the year’s project topic is revealed, until April, when the world championships are held. This year’s topic, titled “BLOCK PARTY!,” is a square-fielded game that will peg two-teamed ‘Alliances’ against each other in a match of obstacles and time limits with a points system to determine a winner. For this weekend’s challenge, 34 teams (down from the original 84  in the qualifying rounds across New York) will compete, and only 5 will move on to the next level in early April.

In preparation for the championships, more than 100 members of Pace’s community have helped make these games possible, namely Dr. Richard Kline, who is head mogul of the Hudson Valley chapter. The Seidenberg community has been involved with FIRST  for more than a decade, not only for the Tech Challenge, but Lego Leagues as well.

For more information about the tournament this weekend, or upcoming championships, visit Pace’s FTC page.

Where in the World Is Seidenberg?

Within the past 2 months, Seidenberg has been all around the world. We’ve sent faculty members and even students to the far corners of the Earth to increase our global presence. So where have we been going and what are we doing there? And, more importantly, how can you get involved?Well, the first trip was exclusively for top members, meaning Jonathan Hill, the Associate Dean and Director of Special Programs and Projects here at Seidenberg. Dr. Hill attended conferences in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as well as in Singapore. These conferences focused on STEM – Science,  Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – a topic that the Seidenberg school emphasizes in the classroom and study environments. Attending these conferences allowed Dr. Hill to experience what kinds of STEM initiatives are occurring around the globe in academia and commercially.

PDP students at the airport in October on their way to Finland.

Soon after Dr. Hill’s return from KL and Singapore, six students set off for Helsinki, Finland, as part of Seidenberg’s annual participation in Product Development Project (PDP). This is a project we  collaborate on with our good friends at Aalto University’s Design Factory. It’s an 8-month long project that allows students involved to travel to Finland twice: once during Fall to meet their Aalto team mates and to kickstart the project, and once again in May for the final presentations of said project. It’s a great way for students to gain real world experience in product development, which can often be programming heavy. This year, the six students from Pace have been put onto two different PDP teams. One team (Julie Gauthier, Olga Bogomolova, and Daniel Rings) has been joined with 11 other team mates in Finland and they will be working on a project funded by one of Finland’s largest casino companies to create new types of gambling machines that enhance the culture (of gambling and Finland) rather than detract from it. The other team (Shane Kirk, Nicole Semple, and Anya Rosentreter) has also joined with 11 others to design a test space for a children’s hospital that will be used in the plans for a new hospital to be built in 2016.

The day after the students returned, Jonathan Hill, Professor Richard Kline, and Wilfredo Peña, Seidenberg’s Community Manager, left for Shanghai. They visited the Aalto Tongji Design Factory, a portion of Aalto DF that has been around since 2010, for a “meeting [that] allowed for partners of the Global Design Factory Network to come together and share ideas about their respective Design Factories,” says Peña. Our Helsinki-based friends Peter Tapio and Andy Clutterbuck also joined up with Hill, Kline, and Peña to participate in the International Design Factory Week of 2013. This multifaceted partnership has grown strong enough that Pace University has now become one of only 6 international universities to be an official part of the Design Factory. This means big things for Seidenberg! More info, once the details are sorted, will be available in due time!

Participants in the Design Factory International Week 2013 at Alto-Tongji

 

Upcoming Workshop for ‘Design Thinking in Higher Education’ to be Led by Kalevi Ekman

“Professor Kalevi Ekman, director of the world-renowned Design Factory at Aalto University, will conduct a workshop on Design Thinking in Higher Education on Friday, September 6, 2013 at the Seidenberg School, at Pace University, 163 William Street, room 236 from 11:00 – 2:30 PM.

The essence of Design Factory is its unique blend of creative, meeting, and social spaces. Design Factory also hosts research projects for industry and nurtures start-up companies in the adjacent ‘Venture Garage’. Aligning the needs of students and industry, Professor Ekman is a leading expert on combining university and corporate resources to create meaningful experiential learning opportunities for students and faculty.”

Finland’s eye for design in educational settings stands out from the rest of the world. Their education systems are internationally renown for being the best; could their designs for educational settings be a major factor in the quality of learning? It is not absurd to think so. Find out for yourself by attending Ekman’s workshop. Space is limited, so reserve a seat via the Eventbrite page.

Aalto University is one that Seidenberg has been partnered with in recent years and one that, on it’s own, stands at the forefront of innovation in technology, design, and much more. Having this relationship with Aalto is highly beneficial for the Seidenberg community and these seminars are a treat to be celebrated. We welcome Professor Ekman and eagerly await next Friday’s workshop!

Summer STEM Camp 2013

What has Seidenberg HQ been up to lately?

We have been busy with STEM! A distinguished group of 20 talented New York high school students have been invited to participate in a 3 week long STEM camp experience. Much like what we did with this year’s Summer Scholars Experience, this educational camp aims to raise awareness about the importance of STEM in addition to exposing the students to the many opportunities that STEM has to offer. As the camp kicked off, our bright participants were placed in teams of 4 and asked to come up with a concept for a STEM related mobile app and website.

 A Day in the Life of a STEM Camp Participant

Each day the camp is filled with excitement and adventure. Students not only learn about coding and Photoshop but they are exposed to a wealth of knowledge from experienced guest speakers and dedicated mentors, including Pavel Kibrik, who talked about the importance of sleep, and Pace professor Samuel Baruch, who discussed his experiences at Columbia where he earned his degree in Math. Our bright campers also get a cultural thrill when visiting different top tech companies, startups, and tourist attractions around NYC. So far, our campers have attended the UNIFCEF CUNY design challenge where they had the chance to learn how students are using STEM to improve the quality of life of the less fortunate. Our campers also visited the NY Hall of Science and the Highline Park. Our bright STEM participants visited Codeacademy, Eye Beam, and Alley Tech NYC to see how awesome it is to work at startups.

 What’s in Store?

With one more week to go, the campers have to finish their STEM mobile apps and their accompanying websites. Each group will then present their work to an esteemed panel of judges. We are excited to see the success of our talented STEM campers!