June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.606.1 - 11.606.6
Evolution of the Electrical Power Technology Program at the University of Houston
A revised Electrical Technology (ELT) program, now designated as Electrical Power Technology (EPTE), was started in the College of Technology at the University of Houston in 2003. The program will serve to not only electrical utilities, but also the large base of electrical contracting, equipment manufacturing, and sales companies in the Houston area. This paper will trace the steps taken by the faculty to change the program from Electrical Technology into the Electrical Power Technology program, and the steps that provided information for the resulting curriculum changes. The paper will also compare EPTE with other electrical and electrical power programs in the U.S. The Electrical Technology program has been part of the former Electrical-Electronics Department for over fifty years, having been started prior to the first TAC-ABET (then ECPD) accreditation (around WW2). The program has experienced continuous change as technology has evolved over the years. Initially electrical technology was two separate programs. One was electrical power (EP) focusing on education related to electrical power transmission, distribution, and system design, and the other was control systems (CS) focusing on the applications of electronics and computers for analog and digital control in industry. Both programs eventually began to experience lower enrollment and difficulty in recruiting students. This situation worsened as with the increase of employment opportunities in computer-related areas. The department faculty decided to combine EP and CS into one major, called the Electrical Technology (ELT), with the same two areas of specialization. The more general Electronics Technology program was later was supplanted by the Computer Engineering Program. In spite of the relatively low enrollment the ELT major attracted enough students to continue even though the class sizes were sometimes fairly small. The ELT major had a 14% increase in majors from Spring 2000 to Spring 2001, which was encouraging, but the low total number of students remained a concern. After considerable consideration of the employment profiles in the Houston region and beyond, it was decided to de-emphasize the control systems aspect of the ELT program. Even though the Houston region has a massive petrochemical refining base, the refineries have shown some reluctance to hire baccalaureate level graduates from the control systems specialization, although they commonly employ associate degree instrumentation graduates. However, the job opportunities for electrical power graduates have been very good in the electrical power related industries through the years. The revised ELT curriculum, after considerable study and contact with industry, was redesigned to produce a strong electrical power technology program, which is now named the Electrical Power Technology (EPTE) program. The change has resulted in considerable increase in class sizes and numbers of majors. The new program now serves the large base of electrical contracting and equipment manufacturing companies in the Houston area as well as electrical utilities and independent power providers throughout Texas and beyond.
Shireen, W., & Faulkenberry, L. (2006, June), Evolution Of The Electrical Power Technology Program At The University Of Houston Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/697
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