Asee peer logo

Developing a Photonics and Laser Technician Education and Training Program

Download Paper |


2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.385.1 - 24.385.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Anca L. Sala Baker College, Flint

visit author page

Dr. Anca L. Sala is Professor and Dean of Engineering and Computer Technology at Baker College of Flint. In addition to her administrative role she continues to be involved with development of new engineering curriculum, improving teaching and assessment of student learning, assessment of program outcomes and objectives, and ABET accreditation. She is a founding member of Mi-Light Michigan Photonics Cluster, and is active in the ASEE, ASME, and OSA professional societies serving in various capacities.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Developing a Photonics and Laser Technician Education and Training ProgramAbstractPhotonics is the science and technology of using light to generate and control energy, andtransmit and detect information. Photonics is an enabling technology, supporting a wide varietyof industries and fields. The National Photonics Initiative1 has identified five key areas wherephotonics plays a critical role in allowing the United States regain global competitiveness andmaintain national security: advanced manufacturing, communications and informationtechnology, defense and national security, energy, and health and medicine.While photonics plays such an important role in enhancing the quality of our lives, highereducation programs to prepare technicians to work in this area are few across the country. Theexisting programs do not produce a sufficient number of graduates to fill the current andprojected industry needs for photonics technicians in our state and region as well as nationally2.Our College has started addressing this gap by developing and introducing a two-year Photonicsand Laser Technology program, the only such program in our state. This initiative has receivedenthusiastic support from the photonics industry in the state, and is also supported by a NationalScience Foundation Advanced Technology Education (ATE) Grant. The goals of the grantproject are to: a) create and implement a new Associate of Applied Science Photonics and LaserTechnology (AAS PLT) program; b) fully equip an Optics and Photonics Laboratory foreducation and training; c) train faculty to teach core courses in the AAS PLT program; d)perform outreach activities to local high schools to promote the new program; e) educate 30 ormore students or workers by the end of the project.The paper discusses the efforts and activities performed towards achieving the project goals, andthe results and outcomes obtained in the first year of the grant. Activities included convening anAdvisory Board with industry participation to provide guidance towards a current, high qualityphotonics program; developing new photonics courses with labs; building a state-of-the-artOptics and Photonics educational laboratory; providing professional development to facultymembers in photonics topics including experimental skills; training and certifying a facultymember to act as Laser Safety Officer; holding an Open House and visits to the Optics andPhotonics Laboratory; and offering a summer program introducing photonics to high schoolstudents in the area.References1. “Lighting the Path to a Competitive, Secure Future, A White Paper by the National Photonics Initiative, May 23,2013”,, accessed on Oct. 15, 20132. “Industry Demand for Two-Year College Graduates in Optics and Photonics Technology, A 2012 Industry Surveyof Current and Future Demand for Two-Year Degreed Photonics Technicians”,, accessed on Oct. 15, 2013

Sala, A. L. (2014, June), Developing a Photonics and Laser Technician Education and Training Program Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20276

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015