Engaged faculty addresses identified needs

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Richard Goldberg, a Faculty Engaged Scholar and research associate professor in biomedical engineering, connects his classroom teaching to the community in a meaningful way. He teaches a senior design class in which undergraduate students develop custom assistive technology devices for people with disabilities. Project ideas come from therapists and clinicians in Durham and Chapel Hill, who serve as project advisors throughout the semester. Students spend the entire semester working on the design and development of a device. At the end of the semester, they deliver their device to the therapist and client at no charge.

As a Faculty Engaged Scholar, Goldberg has sought ways to expand the impact of this program. To address additional needs in the community, he has developed a technology repair shop, in which undergraduate students repair broken assistive technology products as a student extracurricular activity. In addition, some of the completed student projects, which have been delivered to an individual or clinic, could benefit a broader audience. As a result, Goldberg has worked with several engineering firms to obtain funding through Small Business Innovation Research grants. The goal of these grants is to develop commercial products from the student design projects for individuals with disabilities. Each of these new programs will help to address real needs for assistive technology in the community.

“The Faculty Engaged Scholars program networked me with people, both on campus and off campus, who are involved in engaged scholarship. These contacts have been valuable in helping me to move forward in my own work, which involves developing custom assistive technology for people with disabilities in the community.” ~ Richard Goldberg, research associate professor, Biomedical Engineering