CARSON, Calif. – Two CSU campuses signed an agreement last week that will establish a landmark partnership in which students can obtain a bachelor of science in physics from California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) with an option in electrical engineering by attending engineering classes at CSU Fullerton.
The agreement for the pilot program was recently signed by Selase Williams, dean, College of Arts and Sciences, and Kenneth Ganezer, professor of physics, and Raman Unnikrishnan, dean of CSU Fullerton’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, and Mostafa Shiva, CSUF professor of electrical engineering.
“The program is a perfect partnership and represents the type of collaboration that CSU Chancellor Charles Reed wants,” Williams said.
“In this time of a severe budget crisis, it’s appropriate that the two campuses work together, and that this program is finalized during National Engineering Week and a time when we have two robotic devices on Mars,” said Ganezer.
The new program will welcome five to 10 students in the fall and is expected to grow in the future. Students will take 14 units of electrical engineering courses on their way to completing the B.S. in physics. Students in the program will also get a head start on pursuing graduate level engineering work at CSU Fullerton.
“The program involving the two universities is a unique model of collaboration,” said Keith Boyum, associate vice president for academic programs at CSUF. “It benefits the physics program at Dominguez Hills by offering students the electrical engineering option, along with a vehicle for direct admission into Fullerton’s master’s program in electrical engineering.”
“It’s a ’win-win’ for taxpayers,” said Boyum, “because Dominguez Hills does not have to pay expensive start-up costs for an engineering program, and Cal State Fullerton can utilize existing faculty and facilities for undergraduate Dominguez Hills physics majors.”
Linda W. Patton, director of grants and contracts at CSUF, and Clementine Sessoms, coordinator of federal programs, College of Arts and Sciences at CSUDH, agree that the program could lead to scholarship grants for participating students from agencies such as NASA and the National Science Foundation.
The genesis for the collaborative effort came about early in 2003 at a regional NASA conference that involved minority-serving institutions, including representatives from the two campuses. A few weeks later during Engineering Week, CSUF faculty members and others met with CSUDH officials. Jesa Kreiner, CSUF engineering division chair, proposed the idea of a collaborative program with CSUDH. Following a series of meetings and negotiations, the agreement was signed, just one year later.
Once the pilot program is underway and proves successful, other disciplines, such as mechanical engineering and computer engineering, may be added as other engineering options for CSUDH students.
Unnikrishnan, who has overseen similar partnerships when he served at the Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York, noted that this collaborative program is at the forefront in the CSU. He added that a wide array of career opportunities exist for electrical engineers, especially in Orange County’s systems-oriented industries that involve chip design, aviation, medical imaging, medical appliances and other fields.