Georgia Tech's VIP Program Recognized for Educational Innovation

Georgia Tech's Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program has been recognized by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) as a cutting-edge way to add real-world experience into engineering training.

VIP was selected by the NAE as one of 29 programs that "have successfully infused real-world experiences into engineering or engineering technology undergraduate education."

Undergraduates who join VIP can work on research with both peers and graduate students. They become members of teams, which focus on multidisciplinary work and can stay together for years. That way, students can devote time to large projects and establish relationships with older students. VIP work also counts toward degrees.

There were 95 nominations for the NAE distinction, and entries were judged on factors such as programs’ creativity and diversity. In assessing the VIP program, NAE observed that its participants "actively interact regarding both technical and managerial advice."

Some of Tech’s recent VIP groups include the Brain Beats team, which investigates human rhythmic ability, and the eDemocracy team, which examines methods for secure voting. One of the highlights of VIP is that it incorporates students from numerous academic fields. The program was established at Georgia Tech in 2008 by Edward J. Coyle, a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and director of the Arbutus Center for the Integration of Research and Education.

Two other Tech programs were also nominated for NAE recognition. The Inventure Prize competition, one of the nominees, encourages undergraduates to create an invention either individually or in teams. The first place entry wins $15,000.

The other nominee was the Senior Design project in the Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). All ISyE seniors participate in this capstone, which allows them to solve design problems for clients in either the corporate or non-profit worlds.