The program will enable teachers and students to design simulation tools from ANSYS, Inc. and will feature an innovative, integrated curriculum developed in part through the National Science Foundation to improve the quality of learning, especially during the critical freshman year.
"The goal of the program is to help students better understand and apply math and science concepts, and synthesize this knowledge to solve engineering problems," said Cheryl A. Delaney, director, freshman engineering program.
The educational program introduces the use of ANSYS/DesignSpaceR software for up-front design analysis. At this time, the freshman pilot program, which began in 1999 with 40 students, is currently using 20 licenses of ANSYS/DesignSpace. Next year, Pitt will incorporate 80 students into the program and by the third year, hopes to comprise 80 % of the freshman class.
"This is a completely new endeavor for Pitt. We had a new teaching room constructed for this program alone, so the students would have the ability to experience interactive teaching," Delaney said. The program is designed to be a "common engineering curriculum" for all students whether they incorporate mechanical, industrial, or material science engineering. Professors have revised the basic engineering core curriculum so that the engineering, physics, chemistry, and calculus sequences are closely coordinated. "This educational initiative offers students and professors a powerful new learning tool that will better motivate them for what they will be learning later in their studies, as well as in the professional world," said Jim Cashman, president, ANSYS, Inc. "We believe that this project will help the students of today become the design engineers and industry leaders of the future."