Campus: CSU Dominguez Hills -- March 3, 2004

Two CSU Campuses Join Forces to Educate Future Engineers

Beginning in the fall, a select group of students at CSU Dominguez Hills will have an incentive to head 25 miles east to Cal State Fullerton for classes.

While Dominguez Hills offers 62 degree programs, engineering is not among them. Fullerton offers eight such programs and is opening its doors to physics majors from the nearby campus who have set their sights on a career in electrical engineering.

In a move characterized as a “win-win” for students, faculty, taxpayers and future engineers, the two campuses have entered into an agreement whereby students at Dominguez Hills can obtain a bachelor of science in physics from CSUDH with an option in electrical engineering, by attending engineering classes at Fullerton.

“Students with that specialized B.S. in physics are then automatically eligible to pursue a master of science degree in electrical engineering at CSUF on a seamless basis,” said Raman Unnikrishnan, dean of Fullerton’s College of Engineering and Computer Science.

The agreement for the pilot program was signed this week by Dominguez Hills’ Selase W. Williams, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Kenneth Ganezer, chair and professor of physics, and Fullerton’s Unnikrishnan and Mostafa Shiva, department head and professor of electrical engineering.

“The program involving the two universities is a unique model of collaboration,” said Keith Boyum, associate vice president for academic programs at Fullerton. “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 also a ‘win-win’ for taxpayers,” added 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. Plus, Fullerton will have a built-in supply of graduate students seeking a master’s in electrical engineering.”

“The program is a perfect partnership,” said Williams, “and represents the type of collaboration that CSU Chancellor Charles Reed wants.”

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 — a direct bridge to graduate studies in electrical engineering at Fullerton.

“This is really an auspicious occasion,” said Ganezer, following the signing of the agreement. “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.”
Linda W. Patton, director of grants and contracts at Fullerton, and Clementine Sessoms, coordinator of federal programs for the College of Arts and Sciences at Dominguez Hills, 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 Fullerton and Dominguez Hills. A few weeks later during Engineering Week, CSUF faculty members and others met with CSUDH officials at Fullerton. Jesa Kreiner, Fullerton engineering division chair, proposed the idea of a collaborative program with Dominguez Hills. Following a series of meetings and negotiations, the agreement was signed, just one year later.
“We are looking for a synergistic program that will enable Dominguez Hills students to explore

Contemporary areas of technology that will lead to productive career opportunities,” said Kreiner.
Once the pilot program is under way 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.

Media Contacts: Raman M. Unnikrishnan, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, Cal State Fullerton, at (714) 278-3362 or runnikrishnan@fulleton.edu

Selase W. Williams, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, CSU Dominguez Hills, at (310) 243-3389 or swilliams@cas.csudh.edu

Dave Reid, Public Affairs, Cal State Fullerton, at (714) 278-4855 or dreid@fullerton.edu

Pamela Hammond, University Communications & Public Affairs, CSU Dominguez Hills, at (310) 243-2001 or phammond@csudh.edu


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