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Vertically integrating student projects is an award-winning idea

The VIP Consortium garners the 2019 ABET Innovation Award

NYU motor sport

The VIP NYU Tandon Motorsports team with their vehicle which competed at the SAE Baja competition

Since 2016 NYU Tandon students have had the opportunity to take part in hands-on, multidisciplinary projects of real-world importance and work on them almost the entirety of their academic careers, taking on increasingly responsible roles and tracing the trajectory they might take over the course of their professional lives. They are doing so under the auspices of the VIP Program, which allows them to choose from a wide array of projects, including: designing and constructing custom 3D-printed orthotics for young patients, building an off-road vehicle from the wheels up and then racing it, delving into high-tech urban farming, and much more.

Tandon is a member of the VIP Consortium, a network of highly regarded schools around the world who have implemented the well-vetted, scalable program, which produces students who are broadly competent across disciplines, highly capable in team settings, and prepared to lead complex professional endeavors in public and private sectors. (The Consortium was launched in 2014, and lead institutions included the Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Strathclyde.)

Showcase at the VIP Mid-Atlantic Conference
The VIP Smart Cities Technology team presenting their prototype at the VIP Mid-Atlantic Conference held at NYU Tandon

This year the Consortium won the 2019 ABET Innovation Award, which recognizes vision and commitment that challenge the status-quo in technical education. (Founded in 1932 as the Engineers’ Council for Professional Development, the organization later changed its name to the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology and is now known solely by the acronym ABET)

“True innovation is hard to define, but easy to identify,” ABET officials said in bestowing the honor. “This award distinguishes programs that have brought a new dimension to education in areas like curriculum development, laboratory experiences, teaching methodologies, cross-disciplinary programs, experiential learning — almost anything designed and proven to improve a student’s educational experience.”

The VIP Program is overseen by Professor Jack Bringardner and Professor and Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Academics Peter Voltz

“ABET has very high standards that call for students at accredited institutions to be able to design a system or process while keeping practical constraints in mind, to engage in fruitful teamwork, and to identify and solve real-world engineering problems,”  Bringardner said. “It’s a true honor to be part of a Consortium recognized for its excellence in innovative methods to prepare future generations of engineers.”