Carnegie Foundation names NJIT's Osama Eljabiri the NJ Professor of the Year

November 15, 2007

A pioneering educator at NJIT who strongly believes in experiential learning was today named 2007 New Jersey Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Osama Eljabiri, a senior university lecturer who founded, taught and continues to develop the senior project capstone course program at NJIT's College of Computing Sciences, was recognized for his diligence and dedication for promoting this new type of learning. To date, 400 student teams - more than 2,000 students - have participated in 250 projects.

Assembled in teams of four to six, students have designed and implemented software products and other computing services. Each student devotes nine hours a week to the projects. Often the students travel to their sponsoring companies to meet with their clients. The projects encompass business problems and applications, serving a range of fields from entertainment to finance, education to public sector needs.

"The capstone program is a fantastic experience for both students and sponsors," said Eljabiri. "When participants graduate and go on job interviews, they actually can say, 'Here is a real-life project I did.'" And the companies see work accomplished that without our students, either never would have happened or would have taken months, if not years, to complete."

Since the program's inception, student teams have finished projects for more than 300 sponsors. Sponsors include McKesson Corp., San Francisco; Honeywell International, Morristown; PSE&G Inc., Newark; New Jersey Governor's office, Trenton; NASA, Washington, D.C.; and the National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va. A capstone team in a corporation can save (and has saved) many companies hundreds of thousands of dollars.

FACT: In 2004, students designed a database for CIT Group, Livingston, a commercial and consumer finance company. Using a Microsoft computer language - Microsoft SQL--the students added a web browser to create a database that would make it easier for managers to comply with the rigorous auditing rules mandated under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

FACT: A six-student undergraduate team helped Saint Clare's Health Systems, in Denville to design an electronic filing system. It would have taken months for an in-house person to do the work that students had performed, said an administrator.

FACT: A third student team spent the semester working on computer forensics for ICG, Inc., Princeton, a firm that investigates Internet crimes, digital piracy, email- fraud schemes, product counterfeiting and other crimes. The students designed a secure electronic evidence management system to document electronically the processes used by computer forensic investigators. The system produces reports that investigators must present in court during litigation. The company was so happy with the finished product that managers went ahead and hired one student full-time. What used to take an hour to accomplish, now can be finished in five minutes, said an executive.

Eljibiri has been with NJIT since 1999 teaching, advising and overseeing more than 15 undergraduate and graduate software engineering, requirements engineering, business process re-engineering, MIS and project management courses. He has received many university honors including a service award this past September. In 2001, he received a coveted excellence in teaching award from the university. He and NJIT Computing Sciences Professor James McHugh, co-authored Strategic Software Engineering - An Interdisciplinary Approach (CRC Press, Auerbach Publications, 2005).
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The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) administers the US Professors of the Year program. For more information about the program, visit www.usprofessorsoftheyear.org and click on PR Resources or contact Pam Russell, director of public relations, CASE (202-478-5680).

(ATTENTION EDITORS: To see the program in action, you are invited to attend the 7th annual capstone showcase Dec 5, 2007, 1-5:30 p.m. in NJIT's Campus Center. Contact Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436 for more information.)

New Jersey Institute of Technology

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