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Microelectronics Photonics Interdisciplinary Science/Engineering Graduate Program Startup Lessons Learned At The Five Year Point

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

New Trends in ECE Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.913.1 - 9.913.12



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Paper Authors

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Ken Vickers

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Ron Foster

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Greg Salamo

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

Session 1432

Microelectronics-Photonics Interdisciplinary Science/Engineering Graduate Program Startup – Lessons Learned at the Five Year Point Ken Vickers, Ron Foster, Greg Salamo University of Arkansas


The University of Arkansas defined in 1998 an experimental interdisciplinary technology graduate program in Microelectronics-Photonics (microEP). While the microEP Graduate Program is an interdisciplinary degree-granting entity reporting directly to the Graduate School, its academic program elements are reviewed and approved through the normal academic processes of both the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering. Faculty and students enter the program primarily with Physics, Chemistry, and Electrical, Chemical, and Mechanical Engineering backgrounds, but may enter from any rigorous science or engineering degree program. The first students entered the program in the fall 1998 semester, with the MS and PhD microEP degrees fully approved in July 1999 and July 2000 respectively.

The traditional research and educational focus of this program is electronically and photonically active materials, the devices that can be made from those materials, and the high performance solid systems that can be made from the combination of materials and devices. The non- traditional educational focus is in the management of the systems and human resources that move these technologies from the laboratory into full commercialization for the benefit of society. Specifically, the microEP graduate program strives to emulate an industrial work group in an academic environment, an environment that is based in assessing performance through evaluation of individual projects and knowledge rather than in meeting group objectives.

The microEP program also stresses the concepts of civic responsibility through the concept of the “citizen technologist”. All microEP students are trained in their responsibilities to lead their communities after graduation to repay the large investment that society has placed into their graduate education. Inherent in this is the need to support the K-16 educational pipeline that will produce the next generation of their professional colleagues. It is important to lead through example, so the microEP faculty and administration have pursued resources to actively participate in all of these activities. The microEP program has received NSF IGERT, REU, RET, GK-12, and MRSEC awards; and a Department of Education FIPSE award to implement the microEP educational concepts in the traditional Physics Graduate Program.

The history of the microEP program formation, along with the details of its approach to graduate education, have been fully described in a paper presented by the authors at the 2002 ASEE Annual Convention1. The program has now produced over twenty-five MS graduates and three

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Vickers, K., & Foster, R., & Salamo, G. (2004, June), Microelectronics Photonics Interdisciplinary Science/Engineering Graduate Program Startup Lessons Learned At The Five Year Point Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13305

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