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Engineering Education In Biomimetic Microelectronic Systems: An Urban Engineering Research Center’s Response

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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

Innovations in ECE Education I

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.505.1 - 13.505.14



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Paper Authors


Gisele Ragusa University of Southern California

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Associate Professor
Rossier School of Education

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Michael Khoo University of Southern California

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Ellis Meng University of Southern California

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

Engineering Education in Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems: An Urban Engineering Research Center’s Response


In 2003, the National Science Foundation awarded a large private urban research university funds to create an Engineering Research Center (ERC)- a center dedicated to the coordination of groundbreaking research in the development of biomimetic devices. The ERC brings physicians, biologists, engineers and educators together to develop microelectronic systems that interact with living, human tissues. The resulting technology enables implantable and portable devices that can treat presently incurable diseases such as blindness, loss of neuromuscular control, paralysis, and the loss of cognitive function. The researchers focus on mixed signal systems on chip, power and data management, intelligent analog circuits, interface technology at the nano- and micro- scales to integrate microelectronic systems with neurons, and new materials designed to prevent rejection. The ERC has a significantly reformed engineering education effort with foci on undergraduate and graduate engineering with a BME application focus. These reform efforts combine the collaborative expertise of the university’s school of engineering, a school of medicine and a school of education. The engineering educational reform efforts combine undergraduate and graduate coursework with comprehensive, innovative, and multidisciplinary laboratory experiences aligned to the ERC’s BME test beds for all students. Students have opportunities to engage in powerful research side-by-side premiere researchers using an inductively based, situated approach to curriculum and instruction. The ERC’s engineering educational approaches address four broad themes: Access, Inductively based Situated Learning, Retention and Career outcomes. This paper reports both on baseline access, retention, and career data and a logic model associated with a comprehensive curricular reform resulting from the access, retention and career baseline data. As a result of this baseline data, the ERC educational team has found innovative ways to infuse inductively based, situated curriculum and instruction in addition to a student-centric outcome metrics into all aspects of the BME curriculum and associated laboratory experiences. These assessment measures build on the principles established in educational psychology and include pre and posttest BME concept inventories, rubric-based laboratory assessments, BME efficacy measures and employer satisfaction measures. A comprehensive assessment profile is in the process of being created for program graduates at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. This ASEE paper is a “work in progress” report as the engineering education reform engaged in via the ERC represents a comprehensive reform process incorporated in to NSF engineering research center funding that extends for a ten year period.

Introduction and Overview

We live in an era with unprecedented changes due to dramatic advances in technology on many fronts. The explosive growth in computing and communication has revolutionized the way we work and live. Increasingly, the engineering work force is becoming more diverse with teams working with global foci. These forces of globalization, demographics, and technological advances are changing the role of engineering in society1 calling for changes in the way universities address the engineering profession and education.

Ragusa, G., & Khoo, M., & Meng, E. (2008, June), Engineering Education In Biomimetic Microelectronic Systems: An Urban Engineering Research Center’s Response Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4375

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