NJIT Information Technology Grant Enhances Industry-Student Links

NEWARK, April 10- New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) recently received a $2.5 million, three-year grant from the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education. The New Jersey Information Technology Opportunities for the Workforce, Education and Research (NJ-TOWER) aims to increase student and faculty collaboration with New Jersey high-tech industry plus enhance the university's capacity to meet workforce needs.

"Digital convergence has moved from promise to practice. Boundaries between historically separate fields of computer science and telecommunications are now blurred.

"Legitimate concern exists that industry will have an ample supply of highly educated professionals to assure New Jersey's continuing pre-eminence in our technology driven state. NJIT's program is directed squarely at this need," says NJIT President Saul K. Fenster.
Fadi Deek, associate professor of computer and information science and chairperson of the information technology program, and Nirwan Ansari, professor of electrical engineering, lead the grant.

The grant features four main thrusts. It aims to connect New Jersey technology companies to graduate and undergraduate research projects. Currently, 22 undergraduate and graduate student projects have joined with high-tech New Jersey-based companies, such as Lucent Technologies and United Parcel, says Deek.

Students involved with particular research projects are also partnering with companies who participate in the NJIT Enterprise Development Center (EDC). The EDC, more commonly known as a business incubator, is located in two office buildings near the NJIT campus. Within the EDC are 40 start-up, high-tech tenant companies, who turn to NJIT facilities, staff and faculty for technical, academic and business support.

"Although the grant has only just begun, EDC companies have sponsored NJIT student research into areas such as Web-based XML translators, e-commerce database models, and a new basic Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) server," says Deek.

Disseminating information technology research and development will be another target. Professors and instructors will have access to a new electronic newsletter filled with information about information technology research and development. Cutting-edge research results will be disseminated through seminars, workshops, and international conferences, plus the advantage of information available on the Internet," says Ansari.

The grant will enable an honors quality experience in information technology courses to be available to more undergraduate students. It will also enhance the information technology portion of the distance learning program sponsored by the NJIT Division of Continuing Professional Education.

Finding and nurturing technology talent in community colleges will be another targeted goal. "The grant focuses on strengthening the articulation agreements between community colleges and NJIT. It's often difficult for community college students to transfer all their credits to a four-year institution," says grant administrator Robert Friedman, research professor, information technology program. New agreements will enable students not to lose credits earned prior to transfer.
"What we're really trying to do is create courses and curricula that can be adopted on a community college level but still fulfill the requirements needed to go on to NJIT degrees," says Friedman. Ansari agrees. "With this grant, we hope to make NJIT the top choice for all New Jersey students interested in information technology," he says.


NJIT is a public research university enrolling over 8,200 bachelor's, master's and doctoral students in 80 degree programs through its five colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, the School of Management and the Albert Dorman Honors College. Research initiatives include manufacturing, microelectronics, multimedia, transportation, computer science, solar astrophysics, environmental engineering and science, and architecture and building science. According to Yahoo! Internet Life magazine rankings, NJIT has been America's most wired public university for three consecutive years.

Contact Information: Sheryl Weinstein
Office Of Communications, 
(973) 596-3436