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The Vertically Integrated Projects (Vip) Program In Ece At Purdue: Fully Integrating Undergraduate Education And Graduate Research

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Integrating Research Into Undergraduate ECE Education

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1336.1 - 11.1336.16



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Paper Authors

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Jan Allebach Purdue University

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Edward Coyle Purdue University

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Joy Krueger Purdue University

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

The Vertically-Integrated Projects (VIP) Program in ECE at Purdue: Fully Integrating Undergraduate Education and Graduate Research

Abstract: The Vertically-Integrated Projects (VIP) Program is an engineering education program that operates in a research and development context. Undergraduate students that join VIP teams earn academic credit for their participation in design efforts that assist faculty and graduate students with research and development issues in their areas of technical expertise. The teams are: multidisciplinary – drawing students from across engineering; vertically-integrated – maintaining a mix of sophomores through PhD students each semester; and long-term – each undergraduate student may participate in a project for up to seven semesters and each graduate student may participate for the duration of their graduate career. The continuity, technical depth, and disciplinary breadth of these teams enable the completion of projects of significant benefit to faculty members’ research programs.

1. Introduction

Sustaining and accelerating the rapid pace of innovation in electrical and computer engineering will require a continuous stream of new graduates that have been educated and trained to understand how the processes of research, technology advancement, and applications development should be integrated to enable innovations. Current approaches to the education of undergraduates and graduate students are not up to this challenge: undergraduates are generally not provided with a deep exposure to any technology area; Master’s students are often not involved in research or the development of new technology; and PhD students rarely see their breakthroughs implemented and tested in applications.

We have thus developed a new curriculum that integrates education and research in Electrical and Computer Engineering: the Vertically-Integrated Projects (VIP) Program1. It demonstrates that research and education can be integrated to better educate engineering students at all levels and to solve real-world problems. The VIP program creates and supports teams of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students that work together on long-term, large-scale projects. The focus of each project team is on challenges in research, development, and applications that are of interest to federal funding agencies, industry, and not-for-profit organizations.

The design of the VIP program has directly borrowed the large, vertically-integrated team structure of the EPICS program2. This team structure is a proven vehicle for the completion of long-term, large-scale design projects by undergraduates. The VIP program departs from EPICS, however, by adding graduate students to the teams and focusing the design project on research and development projects defined by faculty. This research focus of these projects provides several advantages: It engages faculty in the project at a very high level because the activities of the team directly support the faculty member’s research effort – including the generation of publications and prototypes. These projects thus maintain the long-term engagement and

Allebach, J., & Coyle, E., & Krueger, J. (2006, June), The Vertically Integrated Projects (Vip) Program In Ece At Purdue: Fully Integrating Undergraduate Education And Graduate Research Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1421

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