Prominent Engineering Educator Named President of New York City Technical College

October 28, 1998 | The University

The City University of New York Board of Trustees named Dr. Fred W. Beaufait, former Dean of Wayne State University’s College of Engineering, and Director of the National Science Foundation’s Greenfield Coalition for engineering education, as the new president of New York City Technical College, effective January 1, 1999. A nationally recognized leader in engineering education, he was chosen after a nationwide search, on the recommendation of Interim Chancellor Christoph M. Kimmich and the search committee, at the Trustees’ October 26 meeting.

“Dr. Beaufait will bring extensive administrative experience, an outstanding reputation for educational innovation and scholarly excellence, and a longstanding commitment to public education to the University’s only technical college,” said Dr. Anne A. Paolucci, Chairwoman of the CUNY Board of Trustees. “His broadbased work on successful economic development projects will help position New York City Technical College to build on its many contributions to the workforce of business and industry.”

Dr. Beaufait was Dean of Wayne State University College of Engineering in Detroit, Michigan, from 1986 to December, 1995. During his tenure he strengthened the college’s research program, with grants and contracts totaling $9,431,000 by 1995.

He was a member of the leadership team that developed a proposal to the National Science Foundation for an engineering education coalition grant that was funded in 1994 for $15 million over a five-year period. Called the Greenfield Coalition, it is working to redefinecollege-level curricula in manufacturing engineering and manufacturing technology for the engineer of the 21st century. He assumed the directorship in January 1996. In addition to Wayne State University, other partners in the coalition are the Universityof Detroit, Mercy, Lawrence Technological University, Lehigh University, University of Michigan, Central State University, and Focus: HOPE. Corporate Partners include the Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor company, General Motors Corporation, Detroit Diesel Corporation, Electronic Data Systems, and Cincinnati Milacron.

Emphasizing experiential learning, the new curricula integrate the manufacturing experience with coursework delivered through faculty ” coaches” from partner institutions, enhanced with multimedia computer-based instruction. Candidates work eight-hour shifts in production activities and are involved in the total plant operation from production planning to quality control implementation. Focus: Hope’s Center for Advanced Technologies, a 200,000 square foot state-of-the-art fully operational manufacturing facility provides the setting for students to bring theory and practice together in an inter-disciplinary, team-oriented mode. Students also study other subjects, including foreign languages and mathematics using the same approach. Coalition students are talented minority youth and others recruited from Detroit and the surrounding area.

A professional engineer, Dr. Beaufait received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Mississippi State University, his M.S. in Structures from the University of Kentucky, and his Ph.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. In addition, he attended a National Science Foundation Summer Institute at Oklahoma State University and an Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University.

He was chairman of West Virginia University’s Department of Civil Engineering from 1979 to 1983 and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research at the College of Engineering there until his appointment at Wayne State University. Dr. Beaufait was on the faculty of Vanderbilt University from 1965 to 1979, where he served as Assistant Dean for Engineering Education and later, Director of the Civil Engineering Program. He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Liverpool, England; the University of Wales University College, Cardiff; and at the University Autonoma Metropolitana, Azcapotzalco, Mexico. He has also served as a structural engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

Among his innovations at Wayne State, Dr. Beaufait inaugurated Master of Science degree programs in Manufacturing Engineering and in Engineering Technology, and a Bachelor of Science program.

He also rebuilt the minority engineering program in the college and established a resource center for minority engineering students. Under his leadership, the college made significant increases in the number of minorities and women on the faculty.

Reaching outward with educational opportunity, he developed on-site master’s degree programs at Ford-England (1989-90) and Ford-Germany (1990-1991) to provide European organizations the same program offered at Ford-North America and coordinated the transfer of this program to Loughborough University of Technology in England. He also established master’s degree programs at the UNISYS plant in Plymouth, Michigan and for General Dynamics in Warren, Michigan, and began providing graduate studies in 1990 at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command. Under contract with Ford Motor Company, Wayne State University also developed and offers an on-site engineering management master’s program as a joint effort led by the College of Engineering with the School of Business.

A major component of the college’s out-reach distance learning program is the computer-controlled electronic presentation system in the college’s major lecture theater and the video broadcasting capability from the theater, developed by Dr. Beaufait in 1991. The system currently delivers interactive classes to engineers in the workplace via their personal computer. The college is also now offering distance learning via community television cable to the home throughout metropolitan Detroit. Students have interaction with the instructor during class time using a touch tone telephone.

Dr. Beaufait is the author of many papers on engineering and engineering education, which have been published in professional journals. He is the author of Basic Concepts of Structural Analysis, published in 1977, reprinted in Spanish; the primary author of Computer Methods of Structural analysis, published in 1970 (both by Prentice-Hall), reprinted in Japanese and Chinese; and is the editor and co-editor of two Vanderbilt University international engineering conference proceedings.

New York City Technical College of the City University of New York, located at 300 Jay Street in Brooklyn, has an enrollment of 11,500 students. The college offers 40 career-specific baccalaureate and associate degrees, as well as specialized certificates, in such fields as the technologies of the arts, business, communications, health and engineering-related technologies deriving from, or strongly influenced by, the basic and applied sciences; human services and law-related professions; technical and occupational education; and liberal arts and sciences. All combine state-of-the-art technical education with a solid theoretical foundation in the arts and sciences.

Created in 1946 in response to the changing needs of the post-war world, New York City Technical College is a pioneer in the application of technology to the total teaching/learning process and an international model for urban technical education. Located at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge adjacent to MetroTech Center and Renaissance Plaza, City Tech is also home to numerous communityand technical assistance programs.

In summing up the University’s support for the plan, Dr. Paolucci concluded: “New York City is the greatest “corporation” in the world. Our five-year budget plan will encourage a more aggressive effort to promote long range economic development and, in so doing, redefine and refine our strategic planning for the future.”