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Dr. Eli Fromm Wins National Academy of Engineering Prize
Alumnus (’62, ’64 CoE) Dr. Eli Fromm, Roy A. Brothers Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Center for Educational Research in the College of Engineering, was awarded the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) coveted Bernard M. Gordon Prize for developing Drexel’s Enhanced Education Experience for Engineers (E4) program. The prize carries a $500,000 cash award, half of which was given to the recipient, with the remainder granted to Drexel to support Fromm’s research and development. The prize is one of the NAE’s highest honors.
Fromm was instrumental in introducing the E4 program in 1987. The program was initially offered for discussion at Drexel as an abstract concept that built on various national studies. Under Fromm’s leadership, the program was proposed to the National Science Foundation (NSF) and funded as an experiment at Drexel. Fromm and his Drexel colleagues’ program was based on six principles, including offering engineering courses to freshmen and sophomores “up-front;” incorporating liberal arts, basic sciences and mathematics courses into the engineering curriculum in an engineering context; teaching students in the laboratory because it is the natural setting for engineers; and teaching students how to work in diverse teams to complete projects. The program became an NSF model for engineering education and the basis of Drexel’s undergraduate engineering curriculum.
The program was expanded to create the Gateway Engineering Education Coalition. Led by Fromm and headquartered at Drexel, the collaborative program of seven academic institutions is funded in part by the Engineering Directorate of the National Science Foundation. The Coalition builds upon the E4 program principles for a full engineering baccalaureate program by using more leading technologies, developing an extensive assessment and accountability process and linking Coalition schools with each other and with other engineering schools. The highly successful Gateway Coalition and E4 programs have been extended to more than 60 institutions around the world.