This photonics project is the start of a three-phase initiative to develop a new photonics program that a) responds to regional employment shortages in this emerging field by training much-needed technicians, and b) produces graduates who choose to go on to receive more advanced degrees. Phase one adds a photonics option to the college's existing manufacturing offerings by instituting a Photonics Technician Certificate, creating a new optics laboratory, and exploring the local need for an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Photonics. Future phases will implement the AAS degree, extend the student recruitment effort, and pursue articulation agreements with four-year institutions. The project team applies lessons learned from an NSF S-STEM grant for student recruitment, and collaborates with the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (OP-TEC) and the ATE program at Indian Hills Community College. This project: Develops new courses by adapting and field testing photonics curricula in collaboration with OP-TEC and local industry; trains faculty in both content and teaching methods; adapts existing strategies used by other ATE grantees, including those designed to equip all students with the mathematical ability to succeed; collaborates with local manufacturers on an Industrial Advisory Board; develops a local pipeline from high school to AAS degree to 4-year degree; and provides a replicable model of how to implement a new technical program in an emerging technology field in a systematic manner, including local partners. Phase II of this project is developing a regional Photonics program for a Laser/Optics/Photonics Associates degree in Applied Science (AAS). The program offers innovative instruction, delivery and scheduling; relying on a modular curriculum that is delivered through a hybrid, early entry/early exit system to reduce the time a student needs to complete a degree. It seeks to solve the problem of student recruitment into technical workforce education by creating a new pipeline of students from Lake County High Schools Technical Campus, which is located on the college campus. Students are able to complete a Photonics Certificate at their high school in two years (obtaining full college credit), also having a career pathway built into the AAS degree at CLC. This initiative first provides students with a hands-on experience with Class 1, 2 and 3 lasers until they are able to operate them in a safe environment. Students are then trained on class 3b and 4 powered lasers for applications such as interferometry, holography, and spectroscopy, and finally on high powered lasers used in the military and manufacturing applications. They are exposed to lasers using different lasing media and are provided with opportunities to explore biomedical applications to understand the context of laser utilization. The effort is creating an integrated pipeline from technical high school to community college and from community college to four-year institutions, all with emphasis on completion of degrees and certificates achieved through unconventional and innovative delivery methods. In addition, the project is examining the possibility of creating an AB degree with 4-year transfer institutions that support such an option.

ATE Award Metadata

Award Number
0901172, 1205034
Funding Status
ATE Start Date
May 1st, 2009
ATE Expiration Date
September 30th, 2016
ATE Principal Investigator
Steven Dulmes
Primary Institution
College of Lake County
Record Type
Add Comment


(no comments available yet)