Shoop's Stoop - October 2020 Newsletter

POSTED ON: October 12, 2020


Welcome to the inaugural School of Engineering Newsletter. I chose the title of “Shoop’s Stoop” for my column as a literary metaphor for the staircase in 41 Cooper Square where I have often found students in conversations, sharing thoughts and ideas, and where I have joined some and invited others to share my Shoop Stoop. So, if you would care to pull up a step on Shoop’s Stoop, I will share some of the great things that are happening in the School of Engineering.

Over the summer, we had seven faculty who participated in the 2020 Olin College Virtual Summer Institute which was focused on the design of student-centered learning experiences. This workshop served as the launching point to reimagine our Freshman Engineering Course, EID101 Engineering Design and Problem Solving, integrating a consistent design process across all six-sections, with common milestones, deliverables and rubrics and the addition of 18 student mentors for project teams to help with community building and student support as well as technical assistance on the projects.

The composition of the engineering faculty has changed as we hired three new faculty in the School of Engineering. Cynthia Lee joins the Civil Engineering Department after receiving her Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology, JB Koo joins the Electrical Engineering Department coming from very relevant industrial experience at Intel Corporation, and Fabiola Barrios-Landeros joins the Chemistry Department having recently taught at Yeshiva University. We have four additional tenure-track faculty searches being conducted this academic year with one in Physics, one in Math, and two in Mechanical Engineering. Additionally, on the personnel front, Professor Ruben Savizky who has served as Acting Associate Dean over the past two years accepted the position as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

Over the summer, we continued bi-weekly virtual meetings that began in the spring semester focused on educational pedagogy, particularly online learning. We also conducted bi-weekly virtual townhalls with faculty, staff, and students focused on racial justice and equity. We will continue both important activities throughout this academic year.

Our incoming freshman class is strong, despite the uncertainties associated with COVID-19 and online learning. We admitted 139 students into the Class of 2024, exceeding our target of 135. There are 38 students majoring in Civil, 22 in Chemical, 28 in Electrical, 36 in Mechanical, and 15 in General Engineering.

The start of a new academic year marks a renewal, a continuation of a journey of learning, exploration and growth. While this fall semester feels very different under the continuing oppression of the coronavirus pandemic, the start of the semester with classes back in session brings at least a minimal sense of normalcy. Even though we are predominately online this semester, we have worked hard to maintain the quality and authenticity of the Cooper educational experience. For a number of our project-based courses, we have developed and are shipping CU@Home project kits so students will be able to get the hands-on experience of building and testing projects. We are also working to provide limited student access to shops and maker spaces for some fabrication. Finally, we plan to continue to support student professional development activities in the form of virtual attendance at conferences and workshops, where available.

For the first time, The Cooper Union is offering a new type of course structure known as Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP). VIP courses engage students in a project-based experience over multiple semesters to apply disciplinary knowledge and gain important professional skills. Introduction of VIP courses into our curriculum demonstrates our commitment to educational innovation, problem-based learning, and ensuring that Cooper Union is at the leading edge of educational pedagogy. This semester, we are offering three VIP courses: one on the topic of Smart Cities, another focused on Solar Decathlon, and the final one is Cooper Union Motorsports.

In September, the 2021 US News & World Report rankings were released. This year is one of the first times in recent history that all of our ABET-accredited engineering majors are ranked in the top ten (for schools where doctorate is not offered). The school continues to be #10 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs with individual rankings being #1 in Chemical, #7 in Civil, #7 in Computer, #8 in Electrical/Electronic/Communications, and #7 in Mechanical.

Our students continue to excel and succeed in amazing ways. Alexa Jakob, a junior electrical engineering student, recently received awards from both The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP). Alexa was one of 14 recipients to receive the SWE GE Women's Scholarship and was also awarded the NOGLTSP 2020 Inphi Scholarship in Physics and Engineering.

And finally, the School of Engineering has begun a comprehensive curriculum review with the goal to assess the engineering curriculum with an eye toward ensuring the engineering curriculum is at the leading-edge of undergraduate engineering education.

Thank you for joining me! You should know that these are just the highlights – there are many more great things happening in the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. I look forward to sharing additional updates in future editions of Shoop’s Stoop!


Barry L. Shoop, Ph.D., P.E.

Dean of Engineering

Albert Nerken School of Engineering

Barry L. Shoop
  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.