June 13, 2017 by Alex Brown

Purdue University has launched a center to better transition mechanical engineering students to the work force. The Mechanical Engineering Education Research Center at Purdue, or MEERCat Purdue, will create a research consortium with industry partners that focuses on the transition.

The university says the center will leverage $6 million of federally-funded research in collaboration with faculty from the Purdue’s School of Engineering Education and the School of Mechanical Engineering. Executive Director Edward Berger, associate professor of engineering education and mechanical engineering, says the center “gives a powerful identity to the basic research and research-to-practice projects we’re working on to improve student outcomes and professional formation.”

“This is a first-of-its-kind research consortium that focuses on the massively important challenge of the school-to-workforce transition,” said Berger. “Everyone stands to gain from improvements in this process: students enter organizations in which they can thrive as people and continue to develop as engineers; employers train and support happy and productive engineers who persist with their organization and grow into leaders.”

The university says research based at MEERCat Purdue will include work related to the Purdue Mechanics Freeform Classroom, which gives engineering students access to instructional videos and animations. It will also include work related to the Purdue RED initiative.

“We already know our students are incredibly strong technically, but we want to make sure they’re also building communication, leadership and entrepreneurial skills so they’re ready for success on day one,” said Angela Goldstein, managing director of MEERCat Purdue. “RED and Freeform are both iterative initiatives where we’re taking what we’re learning and directly applying changes both in and outside the classroom to impact our students’ holistic learning environment.”

You can learn more about MEERCat Purdue in the video below:

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