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Development Of A Research Intensive, Multidisciplinary Minor In Nanotechnology Studies (Nts)

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Research in Multidisciplinary Education

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.414.1 - 13.414.13



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Paper Authors


Gary Halada State University of New York at Stony Brook

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, New York 11794-2275

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Mary Frame State University of New York at Stony Brook

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Department of Biomedical Engineering
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, New York 11794-2580

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Chad Korach State University of New York at Stony Brook

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Department of Mechanical Engineering
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, New York 11794-2300

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David Ferguson State University of New York-Stony Brook

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Department of Technology and Society
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, New York 11794-3760

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

An Interdisciplinary, Research-Intensive Minor in Nanotechnology Studies


At Stony Brook University, we have developed a multidisciplinary minor in Nanotechnology Studies unique in its ability to attract undergraduate students from a broad range of academic backgrounds, to integrate into existing majors and programs through mentored research, and to foster professional development through teamwork, communications and active learning. The Minor in Nanotechnology Studies (NTS) is an interdisciplinary, research-intensive program intended for students in majors from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences or the College of Arts and Sciences at who wish to learn about the emerging field of nanotechnology. The coursework in the Minor provides a broad background in the science, design, manufacture, and societal, health and environmental impacts of nanomaterials and nanoscale structures and their applications in engineering and health related areas. The inclusion of a minimum of two semesters of research in the students’ own major areas, as well as choice of technical electives, will allow for integration into current interests and disciplines, and will provide knowledge and skills valuable to students planning to seek employment or graduate studies in fields related to the engineering, business, policy or broader impact of nanotechnology.


a. Need for the minor

In both education and industry it has become clear that nanotechnology does not represent a “stand-alone” activity or field of study – it is an understanding of the impact of unique mechanisms, science and structures at the nanoscale on research and development in traditional fields, such as materials science, mechanical engineering, electronics, biomedical technology, environmental engineering and manufacturing. As such, nanotechnology cannot be taught as a “stand-alone” subject, isolated from its application in design of devices and systems – instead, it must be introduced in the context of research and problem solving in traditional as well as emerging engineering fields suited to student interest. Likewise, it is essential to provide a social, economic and ethical context to application of nanotechnology in manufacturing, medicine, and other contextual areas driving research and development. This provides a unique challenge and requires an approach which successfully integrates nanotechnology into current academic programs. Such an approach has the added benefit of enhancing student engagement and motivation. The result will be a better educated population of engineers, with an appreciation for the critical importance of nanoscale approaches to solving societal problems.

b. Value of active/problem-based approach

There are many references regarding the value of problem-based, active learning environments for improvement of student comprehension and engagement.1,2,3 Active-learning requires students to be involved in key activities of analysis, synthesis and evaluation. 4 For university

Halada, G., & Frame, M., & Korach, C., & Ferguson, D. (2008, June), Development Of A Research Intensive, Multidisciplinary Minor In Nanotechnology Studies (Nts) Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4095

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