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.”