Engineering Professor Selected for National Symposium

Engineering Professor Selected for National Symposium

University of Central Florida associate professor Niels Da Vitoria Lobo is one of four Florida educators selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) symposium in California this month.

The symposium brings together 72 of the most innovative young engineering educators in the nation to exchange ideas, learn from research, and return to their home institution with ideas for improving engineering education.

“It is absolutely critical that U.S. engineering educators learn how to become more effective in the classroom, utilizing technology and pedagogy in creative ways in order to produce more innovative graduates who have the ability to address the complex problems of the 21st century,” said Larry Shuman, senior associate dean for Academic Affairs and distinguished service professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, and the chair of the FOEE planning committee.  “To do otherwise will cede the nation’s place as an educational leader to other, more aggressive countries. “

Da Vitoria Lobo will join professors from other distinguished institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Texas A&M University and Purdue University among others.

Given the labor-market shortage of students with skills and knowledge in computer programming, Da Vitoria Lobo’s work is intended to increase student interest in these fields. Lobo’s work in education innovation involves attracting a diverse body of students into early computer science. Lobo has found that students tend to be willing to engage longer with what they might otherwise consider tedious, if they see it as related to helpful activities, so he teaches computer science in the context of systems that serve food banks and emergency disaster relief.

Da Vitoria Lobo received a bachelor’s of science degree from Dalhousie University in Canada, and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. He joined UCF In 1993 and advises several graduate students. Lobo receives funding from the National Science Foundation.

The University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of South Florida also will have representatives at the two-day meeting.

Those selected for the FOEE were nominated by fellow engineers or deans and chosen from a highly competitive pool of applicants. The symposium will be Oct. 14-17 in Irvine, Calif.