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TABE.NET            Trans-Atlantic Biosystems Engineering Curriculum and Mobility

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What is the TABE.NET project all about?

The overall goal of TABE.NET is to advance internationalization of Biosystems Engineering (BSEN) curricula and develop a global awareness within the discipline.  Activities include identifying core threads of the discipline, creating a database of multinational examples that will globalize core BSEN courses, and developing several innovative courses. Student (24 students will have the opportunity for funded travel scholarships each way across the Atlantic) and staff/faculty mobility experiences will enhance the global perspectives and will create a cohort of students aware of, and able to work in, a global employment market.  Students will study abroad for a minimum of one semester and maximum of one academic year.  The participating institutions are Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VT) and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and University College Dublin (UCD), Agricultural University of Athens (AUA), Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (UPM), and University of Bari (UniBar).

Project Objectives

  1. To define the common threads within the discipline of Biosystems Engineering;
  2. To globalize core Biosystems Engineering courses by creating a database of multinational examples that can be drawn upon by instructors around the world;
  3. To develop innovative courses to advance the continuing development of Biosystems Engineering programs in the US and EU (and globally);
  4. To design student and staff/faculty mobility experiences that enhance the global perspectives of both; and
  5. To create a cohort of students aware of, and able to work in, a global employment market.

These objectives can be summarized under the following headings:

1) Student Exchange
Students will travel from their home continent across the Atlantic to satisfy the mobility component of the project:
  • They will apply to the consortium as soon as possible once they are registered for, or think they will register for a recognized BSEN programme within one of the partner institutions.
  • The consortium will accept applications at any time, however consideration of who receives scholarship money in any 12 month period (January to December) will be based on 3 principles:
    • balance of mobility between institutions (each EU partner to host 3 students from each US partner, and each US partner to host 3 EU students from each EU partner
    • academic merit: if there are more applicants than support funds, all applicants will be eligible to travel but only the best will be supported by a scholarship payment from the consortium
    • preference will be given to those who wish to visit a host for one academic year.
  • Each student will agree to a programme of study at the host institution that is approved by both the host representative, but more importantly is approved as a suitable course of study by the home institution. It is recognized that there will not be an exact equivalence of modules / courses therefore some adaptation will be required.
  • Each student will be required to be in the host institution for a minimum of 1 semester (4 months).
  • Each student will be required to complete a formal written report on completing their study abroad
  • Applications have to be sufficiently in advance of planned travel date to permit suitable language and cultural preparation. Language supports in the form of on-line conversation activities will be developed as necessary.
2) Curriculum development
Non-student exchange activity will focus on developing the concept of BSEN including:
  • Defining common thread for BSEN modules / courses. 
  • Developing a series of 3 modules that can be recognized by all partners and used in their curriculum if so wished. These will be: (i) a design project; (ii) an innovation and entrepreneurship module; and (iii) a module provisionally titled: What is Biosystems Engineering?
    • Developing and populating a database of teaching examples. These will be available to the partner institutions (in the first place) for faculty / staff to use to internationalize teaching of modules
      • Faculty / Staff exchanges will focus on curriculum development activities, but can also address research and other collaboration. Each exchange must be accompanied by a written report.

      These two main activities, student / staff echange and curriculum development, will give rise to the agreed project outcomes:

      • Common threads of BSEN;
      • A globally accessible database of multinational examples that are relevant to core BSEN courses;
      • Collaborative online (web-based) design project course for students at partner institutions who are not traveling;
      • Online (web based) innovation and entrepreneurship course with multinational examples;
      • Online (web based) interactive course – What is Biosystems Engineering?  
      • Project reports detailing staff/faculty and student experiences from engaging with the program. These will provide the substantive basis of the dissemination of the program.

      Current activity: The initial funding phase of the project is coming to an end. The partners are now planning the second phase of the project's life cycle, continuing mobility without federal / EC support. The main focus for staff / faculty mobility is the summer workshop in VT on curriculum development.
      Last updated: 21-05-2013

      Partners 

      N. M. Holden UCD
      M. L. Wolfe VT
      R. S. Gates UIUC
      D. Briassoulis AUA
      F. Ayuga UPM
      G. Scarascia-Mugnozza UniBa

      EU Coordinator:

      Prof Nicholas M Holden
      UCD School of Biosystems Engineering
      Room 3.03, Agriculture and Food Science Centre
      University College Dublin
      Belfield, Dublin 4
      IRELAND

      US Coordinator:

      Dr Mary Leigh Wolfe
      Biological Systems Engineering
      305 Seitz Hall
      Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061
      USA

      This project is funded by:

      Details of the programme can be found here
      Details of the programme can be found here
      N. M Holden 2009
      University College Dublin
      Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland