In light of recent events, how exactly does Cooper Union’s curriculum changes compare with that of New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering? More specifically, how do the hours spent in lecture by freshmen and sophomores per week compare between the two schools?
Two candidates for the Dean of Engineering visited The Cooper Union last week to give presentations to students and faculty. One candidate presented on Tuesday, and the other presented on Friday. The candidates had similar credentials: They both served as department heads at their respective universities, had backgrounds in electrical engineering, and had experience working with the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET).
Two months ago, the Engineering Curriculum Committee passed a resolution in opposition to the contact hour changes in the Departments of Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics. Last week, on April 2, the Engineering Student Council (ESC) followed suit after collecting student signatures for a petition opposing the change. The Cooper Union Federation of College Teachers (CUFCT) has also filed a grievance against the administration.
According to email correspondence provided by the Department of Mathematics, President Laura Sparks is “confident” that Dean Richard Stock’s directive to reduce contact hours in some required math classes achieves the “best for The Cooper Union and our students.”
The mathematics department feels that the “policy change will unavoidably lead to a diminution of the depth and breadth of our students’ mathematical preparation, thereby jeopardizing their readiness to excel in the sciences and engineering.”
By Matthew Grattan (BSE ’19), Olivia Heuiyoung Park (ME ‘20), and Jeremiah V. Pratt (EE ’19)
On Jan. 30, the chairs of chemistry, physics, and math received separate emails from the Dean’s office informing them of a massive change in the structure of their classes: Beginning next semester, all classes must reduce the number of contact hours to match the credits offered.
The idea of reducing contact hours to match the number of credits in some classes was discussed almost a year ago at an engineering faculty meeting. However, the engineering faculty heard little else of the topic until the Dean’s office sent out the directives.
On February 28, 2018, the Cooper Union’s Dean of Admissions, Mitchell Lipton, released a statement reaffirming the college’s support for students who voice their opinion by taking part in peaceful protests. Making specific reference to protests in support of gun violence legislation that have resulted from the recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the relevant portion is as follows: “The Cooper Union will not rescind admissions offers to prospective students who face discipline for peaceable protest. As is our practice, we would ask that students let us know if they have been found responsible for a disciplinary violation. However… violations for peaceful demonstrations or walkouts will not jeopardize a student’s admission to Cooper.”
The Cooper Union Alumni Association (CUAA) has announced that seniors are now allowed to vote in the CUAA elections. According to Mary Lynch (ChE ‘82), the CUAA’s secretary, this change was made to encourage more participation among recent graduates within the CUAA, and improve the relationship between the student and alumni bodies.
Information about the candidates will be made available at cooperalumni.org over the course of the next couple of weeks. The positions on the ballot are VP – Alumni activities; VP-Student and Faculty Liaison; Secretary, Treasurer, Council Members (12) and Nominating Committee (10). The election will begin on March 15; in order to vote, it suffices to register at cooperalumni.org/register; CUAA will send ballots directly to the inbox of registered students and alumni.