Engineering education directly supports the nation’s capacity for economic growth, infrastructure renewal, and security, as well as environmental and human health. Numerous reports have recommended federal support to advance our understanding of how students learn, how faculty teach, and how teaching and learning are assessed. The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) funded eight Engineering Education Coalitions comprising 49 universities from 1990 to 2005 to encourage implementation of report findings. The NSF Department Level Reform (DLR) program was designed to build on the efforts of the coalitions with funding provided to 20 universities to reformulate and update their engineering programs from 2004-2008. In this paper, the authors provide a brief summary of the coalition effort, an overview of the DLR program, highlights from selected DLR implementation efforts and comments on future directions of engineering education and research.