Shoop's Stoop - December 2021 Newsletter

POSTED ON: December 7, 2021

Shoop Stoop Graphic

As we quickly approach the end of Fall Semester 2021, I ask that you again join me on Shoop’s Stoop where I share some of the great things happening in the Albert Nerken School of Engineering.

The fall semester began with a palpable feeling of relief, excitement, and promise as we returned to in-person learning in 41 Cooper Square. Students, faculty, and staff have all been thankful to return to a sense of normal, albeit with masks and weekly testing. The classrooms, labs, shops, and makerspaces have all been humming and even with the masks, you could sense smiles on everyone’s faces!

With the return to in-person learning I have returned to my classroom visitation routine. I have been visiting classes across the school as a way to observe the wide variety of teaching techniques and pedagogies being used, better understand the curriculum, and provide feedback from my nearly 30-years of higher education experience. I had the opportunity to refresh my memory on topics including Lagrange multipliers, P=NP? problem or Turing machines, adiabatic, isothermal, and other thermodynamic processes and the Carnot cycle, computation of settlement and diffusion in environmental systems and others – it was epic! I am happy to share that I observed a lot of active, student-centered, project-based learning as well as effective teaching pedagogy. I am confident that our faculty are preparing our students to succeed in the dynamic and increasingly complex world they will enter upon graduation.

Over the summer of 2021, the Board of Directors of the IDC Foundation awarded The Cooper Union a three-year grant totaling $471,000 in support of the proposed IDC Innovation Initiative: Innovation at the Intersection of Architecture and Engineering. This grant will support (1) IDC Foundation Innovation Fund for the Deans of Engineering and Architecture to launch new interdisciplinary and cutting-edge enterprises and (2) IDC Foundation Art, Architecture, Construction and Engineering (AACE) Lab Advancement Fund from which faculty and students can propose and implement their own burgeoning innovative ideas and galvanize activity in the new AACE Lab. The first year of this effort has already seen progress. In Civil Engineering, one of our capstone project teams selected as their project to design a new student center for the Cooper Union in a currently empty lot next to our existing residence hall at St. Marks and 3rd Avenue. For the first time, the civil engineering capstone team has integrated students from the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. Additionally, Professor Cosmas Tzavelis from Civil Engineering is collaborating with Professor Julian Palacio from Architecture to design a new interdisciplinary course that will use the AACE Lab to explore transformative ideas about the relationship between structure, form, materials and new technologies for design and fabrication. It’s exciting to see activities at the intersection of civil engineering and architecture!

In early November, our chemical engineers took the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Annual Meeting in Boston, MA by storm! We had four tenured and tenure-track faculty and 12 students and alumni present results of research conducted at Cooper. In addition, several of our students received awards in the Undergraduate Research Poster Competition. You can find details of this in an article in this issue of the newsletter.

Also in November, we had the distinct pleasure of hosting Dean Kamen for a conversation with our engineering students. Dean Kamen is an American engineer, inventor, and businessman. He is known for his invention of the Segway and the iBOT all-terrain electric wheelchair, as well as founding FIRST Robotics. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Inventors Hall of Fame, received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the Hoover Medal, and the Lemelson-MIT Prize for inventors, among many, many others. He is the founder and CEO of DEKA Research and Development in New Hampshire. He was at Cooper looking for exceptional engineering talent. It was a great opportunity for our students to engage with someone of his talent, experience, and vision!

I encourage you to take time to read all the articles in this newsletter. They include student activities and successes, faculty contributions and accomplishments, curricular initiatives, and alumni activities.

Thank you again for sharing your valuable time with me on Shoop’s Stoop! It continues to be an exciting time to be part of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. I look forward to sharing additional updates in future editions.

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.