New US System of College Ratings (Obama’s Proposal)

It is finally here! President Obama’s proposed system to rate colleges and universities in the US. Based primarily on educational outcomes and performance metrics, instead of research endeavors, the focus of other national and international rankings, this system will hopefully motivate institutions to look at how well they are serving society through their academic programs.

Review the press release/report which includes metrics proposed here: New college ratings framework-invitation-comment

Press releases:

Washington Post

Inside Higher Ed

US News and World Report

How China is Trying to Reverse its Brain Drain

This The Economist article describes efforts by Chinese government and universities to recruit and retain top notched nationals and foreigners into their talent pool as well as develop incentives and infrastructure (like this building at Tsinghua University). For economic development simple and straightforward. Impressive how this country identifies key challenges and addresses them.

Together with a group of colleagues/experts, I in some way have been contributing to this transformation the last 4 years through workshops and seminars on engineering curriculum innovation at Tsinghua University with deans, rectors and faculty from over 100 colleges of engineering. For more information on what we do, please go to or drop me an email (

How to Get More Female Computer Science Grads

 - Safia Abdalla, a freshman in the computer science program at Northwestern University - KENDALL KARMANIAN

In the US alone, there’s a 1.2 million demand for computer scientists/engineers. If more women were intrigued by the profession, they could help address the gap. But women only make 18% of CS/CE degrees. Recruiting and retention of women in male dominated careers is a problem worldwide. This Chicago Business article shares an approach to solving both the problem of recruiting and retention of women.

In my experience at the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez (UPRM), where there are almost 40% of women in engineering, it takes a multi-pronged approach to bring in and retain women in engineering and computer science. You need to start as early as possible in making science and engineering attractive and non-stereotyped. “When gender perceptions and negative stereotypes towards women in mathematics and science are non-existent, the gender gap in performance seems to disappear.” according to a 2014 UPRM study. You need role models at all levels, including society. And most importantly, incorporating project-based learning is critical. Why the latter? Women’s perceptions, problem-solving approach and contributions make them feel valued. As Richard F. Baz from WPI reports, project-based learning has significantly more impact on women than on men. It appears that when women have connections with their environment they feel valued. Project-based learning allows students, especially women, to “build more intimate connections with people… because we were living with the people we were working with…”


The perfect human is Puerto Rican

Lueny Morell:

Why am I not surprised? And it is a PUERTORRICAN WOMAN!

Originally posted on Bits of DNA:

Recent news of James Watson’s auction of his Nobel Prize medal has unearthed a very unpleasant memory for me.

In March 2004 I attended an invitation only genomics meeting at the famed Banbury Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. I had heard legendary stories about Banbury, and have to admit I felt honored and excited when I received the invitation. There were rumors that sometimes James Watson himself would attend meetings. The emails I received explaining the secretive policies of the Center only added to the allure. I felt that I had received an invitation to the genomics equivalent of Skull and Bones.

Although Watson did not end up attending the meeting, my high expectations were met when he did decide to drop in on dinner one evening at Robertson house. Without warning he seated himself at my table. I was in awe. The table was round with seating for six, and Honest Jim sat down right across…

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