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January/February 2009

ASTM International’s Year of the Professor

Empowering a New Generation of Technical Experts

2009 marks the launch of a new campaign designed to raise awareness of ASTM International standards at colleges and universities around the globe.

empowering the next generationASTM International continues its support of today’s college students with a new academic outreach campaign this year. The 2009 campaign, the Year of the Professor, will promote the value of standards education at colleges and universities worldwide. The focal point of the campaign is reinforcing professors’ work to educate students about the dynamic field of standardization.

The Year of the Professor expands upon ASTM International’s highly successful Year of the Student initiative of 2007. That program brought a 40 percent increase to ASTM International student membership globally and saw the number of colleges and universities that access ASTM standards increase to more than 1,000.

A major thrust of the Year of the Professor is enhancing the availability of tools and information that assists educators in teaching their students about standards. ASTM International is making these resources available in the form of affordable academic-oriented products, enabling professors to integrate ASTM standards into their course materials; online learning materials and other educational information at the ASTM Campus, an area of the ASTM Web site geared toward professors and students; college and university campus visits and guest lectures by ASTM members and staff; and ongoing ASTM student membership opportunities.

Vicki L. Brown, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the civil engineering department at Widener University, Chester, Pa., says, “Engineering students in particular should learn about standards while still in school so that, as practicing professionals, they are prepared to appropriately apply those standards in their everyday technical evaluations and decision making. ASTM’s Year of the Professor program provides engineering educators with welcome resources for teaching students about standardization.”

ASTM International Professor of the Year Award

In 2009, ASTM will recognize the contributions of educators through the ASTM International Professor of the Year Award. Candidates for the award include professors and instructors at accredited universities worldwide who have demonstrated the outstanding use of ASTM standards in their teaching. Cash awards will be given to the winning educator and his or her university. To nominate a colleague or member of your department, click here.

Developing a Real-World Curriculum

Integral to the Year of the Professor outreach campaign are ASTM academic products to help educators easily and cost-effectively include ASTM standards in their course work. The core is ASTM’s Standards on Campus product. With Standards on Campus, professors and instructors can designate a set of up to 10 ASTM standards to be part of the learning materials for an individual course. After professors register their course online on the ASTM Web site and select a set of standards, their students can download the standards package for just $10.

ASTM also offers a campus-wide subscription service option that provides multi-user desktop access to more than 12,000 ASTM standards. Through this service, every department or branch campus of a school, regardless of location, can utilize ASTM International standards. Additionally, this offering can include the use of ASTM’s Digital Library, a robust online gateway to electronic versions of nearly all of ASTM’s publications, including books, publications and journal articles.

Linda Schadler, Ph.D., professor of materials engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., comments on her use of ASTM’s Standards on Campus, “In addition to being valuable education tools, ASTM standards also help students focus on details while doing laboratories. The use of standards provides a level of legitimacy in the lab environment while serving as a motivator for students on their various projects.”

Living Case Studies in the Classroom

Throughout the year, ASTM International will continue its outreach efforts at colleges and universities around the world. During these in-class training sessions and guest lectures, ASTM members and staff give students a living case study on the importance of standardization and discuss their involvement in the standardization process as well as share insights into the importance of standards to the future careers of university-level students.

Numerous visits and seminars are planned for 2009 that will build on last year’s programs at several schools, including Catholic University, Drexel University, Eastern University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University of Miami and Westminster College.

ASTM Campus: Online Repository for Standards Information

In support of the Year of the Professor initiative, ASTM is expanding the ASTM Campus section of the ASTM Web site. The ASTM Campus contains a broad range of educational information on standards, including handbooks and articles, interviews with standards professionals, background information on how standards are developed and much more. The ASTM Campus also features multimedia learning modules on various aspects of the field of standardization. These modules are available for direct download and presentation in the classroom setting.

In addition to its rich array of educational resources, the ASTM Campus provides students with the opportunity to participate in paper competitions and win scholarships sponsored by ASTM technical committees, access information on internship programs and sign up to become an ASTM International student member.

Opening New Doors via ASTM Student Membership

ASTM International further supports the educational development of students by providing them with the opportunity for society membership. Launched in 2003, ASTM student membership is now one of its most popular academic outreach programs. It has grown to include thousands of college and university students from more than 75 countries around the world. Students enrolled in full-time graduate or undergraduate programs can sign up free of charge; they gain a wide range of benefits including free attendance at ASTM symposia, electronic editions of ASTM’s magazine and newsletters, and access to a password-protected, online student member information area of the ASTM Web site.

Upon graduation, students can become regular members of ASTM International at a reduced fee. Membership in the program helps students to develop their knowledge and awareness of standards while serving as a notable addition to their resumes.

ASTM International President James A. Thomas notes, “Today’s college students are the world’s future technical experts and leaders in their fields. Enhancing their classroom learning with a real-world curriculum in standards will give them a learning foundation they can draw on throughout their entire career. ASTM International is committed to supporting college and university educators in their efforts to build students’ knowledge and awareness of the critical discipline of standardization.”

For more information on ASTM’s Year of the Professor initiative, click here or contact James Olshefsky, director of external relations (phone: 610-832-9714).