CIAN Education Strategic Plan
The research vision of the Engineering Research Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN) is to create integrated optical technologies for the future Internet that will enable low cost delivery of high data rates to a broad population. Boosting creativity and innovation among students, educators, researchers, and industrial practitioners is the educational goal that supports this vision. CIAN's students, faculty, and administrators are devoted to
Our portrayal of innovation will be informed and updated by our partnership with The Arizona Center for Innovation (AZCI) and data from our industrial partners about advantageous qualities in the workplace. CIAN's array of education programs offers students the opportunity to develop skills that are the building blocks of innovation, including:
- Strong analytical thinking, practical ingenuity, and creativity: The training of undergraduate and graduate students working in CIAN's cross-disciplinary, multi-institutional, laboratories is rooted in a systems-level understanding that requires a rigorous focus on application-driven ingenuity. Student's aptitude for industrial success will be also refined by summer internships and periodic communication with CIAN's industrial partners, such as during the Industrial Advisory Board annual meeting and, for relevant projects, dissertation co-advisors.
- Communicating scientific knowledge to wide audiences: Tutoring for Young Scholars, mentoring students and teachers visiting CIAN's laboratories for summer research stints, and volunteering for outreach events will encourage students to appreciate their own education accomplishments and challenge them to creatively articulate their research.
- Leadership, business training, and management: CIAN's partnerships will UA's Eller College of Management and AZCI exist to offer student's seminars and workshops on business skills and translating novel ideas from the research lab into commercial products. CIAN's Student Leadership Council (SLC) has been founded on the premise that its greatest success will be possible if the students are autonomous; therefore financial, administrative, and other resource support is provided along with encouragement to create their own charter.
- High ethical standards and professionalism: Ethics lessons, including analyzing hypothetical decisions and role-playing, will be offered during the summer programs for visiting researchers, faculty, and CIAN students to participant in together. The instruction of ethics in engineering is currently under-resourced; this important supplemental training will assist CIAN's cohort in developing these critical skills.
- Resilience, agility, and flexibility: Through mentoring, both in CIAN's research environment and during industrial internships, students will have the opportunity to observe successful behaviors of senior level personnel. The necessity of being a lifelong leaner, to stay current on research and commercial developments, will be taught through these relationships.
Equal access to education is a guiding ideal of our programs. Vertically-integrated online courses, called super-courses are uniquely designed to provide learners the ability to customize content based on their prior education and to reinforce their fundamental understanding of photonic concepts. This will allow dissemination of photonics knowledge to persons from diverse disciplines and a range of preparation levels. CIAN faculty will supply course content that is infused, and easily updated, with CIAN research findings. Super-courses are based on modular, unit instruction topics, and, as such, may be utilized in a highly-flexible fashion. The courses will offer the opportunity for web-based, instructor-lead course implementation within a traditional course structure at all levels, from pre-college to undergraduate to graduate. In addition, modular course materials may also be applied as reference materials to augment existing lecture-style classes and will form the basis of a scientifically deep and technologically current reference source that will provide a freely-available introduction to optical communication for independent learners.
The Education and Diversity Advisory Board (EDBA) will design and oversee these programs, analyze evaluation material, and serve as a group offering continuous improvement for CIAN's Education Programs. Members will include representation from: CIAN's Director, CIAN's Director of Education, CIAN's super-course developers, Education Representatives from partnering institutions, an industrial representative, and a member of the Student Leadership Council. The evaluations will be designed to measure program impact on innovative thinking, in addition to quantitative reporting on the future education endeavors of our participants.