The School of Education has created a Board of Visitors to help students and faculty prepare for the future demands of the profession.
      The 19-member board is composed of alumni and friends from all facets of the education system, including teachers, school administrators, and professionals in such fields as communication science, speech pathology, and special education policy. "We started with this core group to get diverse backgrounds, including people who represent such interests as parents and the community," says Dean Steven T. Bossert.
      Members, who will serve a maximum of two three-year terms, plan to meet twice a year to discuss the state of the education system, and determine how to prepare the school for changes in such areas as public policy and student recruitment.
      Board chair Gloria Quadrini G'77, G'90 says her goal is to assist the school in everything from public relations and fund raising to recruitment and curriculum development. "The board will advise on two levels," says Quadrini, who also is an adjunct professor at the School of Education. "We want to see what we can do for the school internally and externally."
mike prinzo
      U.S. News & World Reportrecently ranked the special education department's graduate program 7th in the country, and the school's graduate programs 28th in academics and 46th overall. Bossert believes the board will be invaluable in helping the school continue its leadership role in education. "The board will help us look into the future and understand what some of the trends will be, and how the School of Education can best respond to these trends and remain one of the top programs in the country," Bossert says.
      Students also will play a role. Undergraduate and graduate representatives will be appointed to the board to express their needs, concerns, and aspirations, Bossert says. To reach more students, board members will participate in classes and lectures.
      Current and prospective students can also turn to members for advice on becoming education professionals. Board members will assist with student recruitment, help graduates with career placement, and be involved in any program changes the school undertakes to ensure students are well qualified to enter the education workforce. "Since many of these board members are in leadership positions, they serve as good role models for our students and possible contacts when they graduate," Bossert says.                                                                                                       —DANIELLE K. JOHNSON



courtesy of riyad aboutaha
Professor Riyad Aboutaha stands on the steel reaction frame in the new structural engineering lab.
The red markings on a reinforced concrete beam tell a story. They indicate where cracks formed as pressure was applied to the beam in carefully measured intervals. The cracks show how the concrete reacts to pressure, offering an indication of how the beam will function under similar conditions in a building system. To a structural engineer, this is vital information.
      The pressure test was one of the first experiments conducted by students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering's new structural engineering laboratory. The lab, completed last March, allows students to test materials and full-scale design systems under simulated field conditions. Located in the basement of Hinds Hall, the lab includes a steel reaction frame, 11 hydraulic rams, and a 10-ton overhead crane capable of lifting up to 20,000 pounds.
      Professor Riyad Aboutaha created the lab as part of an overall effort to improve the structural engineering program. Aboutaha designed and constructed much of the lab with doctoral student Nuttawat Chutarat. "It was not easy," Aboutaha admits. "Considering the space we had to work with, I had to devise a very versatile design."
      Aboutaha says it's important for students to have a place where they can conduct tests on structural elements. "The lab is a real boost to the program," he says. "We used to teach almost everything theoretically. Now students can test full-scale bridge girders and building frames firsthand. They can understand a building system and its behavior under certain conditions."
      The lab already has prompted some fine-tuning of the curriculum. This year, Aboutaha will teach Orientation of Civil Infrastructure, a course currently offered only at a handful of American universities. The lab also enables the school to conduct structural research for the New York State Department of Transportation.
      Administrators from other universities have contacted Aboutaha with questions on how to build similar labs. Engineering faculty and administrators at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, for example, reviewed Aboutaha's design plans and are in the process of copying the SU model. "It's very exciting," Aboutaha says. "This project was designed, assembled, and built here, yet it will have an influence well beyond this program."
                                                                                                                          —TAMMY DIDOMENICO

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