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Forum on graduate education for 21st century electronics

Forum on Graduate Education for 21st Century Electronics

Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Purdue University

On May 9, 2017 at Purdue University, West Lafayette, the NEEDS team hosted a forum on graduate education in electronic materials, devices, and systems. In addition to Purdue faculty and students, partners from Berkeley, MIT, and Stanford also participated. The specific topic for discussion was how graduate and continuing education should be re-shaped for a new era of electronics. 

Summary, key conclusions, and next steps

Introduction for the Forum

Professor M. A. Alam Purdue University remarks

Session 1:  Perspectives from Industry 

Today, almost every company is an “electronic company”. This session provided perspectives on 21st century electronics from a broad set of companies. In addition to discussing R&D, presenters also discussed the skills and knowledge students need to be successful in new era electronics and the challenges that working engineers face in this rapidly changing environment.

The session consisted of short talks from several different companies followed by a discussion with the audience.

Dr. Srikanth Krishnan Texas Instruments remarks
Dr. Geoffrey Coram Analog Devices, Inc. remarks
Dr. Colin McAndrew NXP/Qualcomm remarks
Dr. Mark Stettler Intel remarks
Dr. David Yeh Semiconductor Research Corporation remarks
Dr. Arun Malhotra Western Digital remarks
company info
Dr. Julio Costa Qorvo remarks

In addition to the above speakers, we were also fortunate to have Dr. Lee Smith of Synopsys, Greg Atwood of Micron Technologies, and Dr. Reza Shahed of Sandia National Laboratories participate in the discussions.

Session 2:  Perspectives from Students

In this session, we heard from graduate students who provided their perspectives on the results of a recent survey of current and former NEEDS students, colleagues in industry, and faculty. A panel of students presented their views on the graduate curriculum, the graduate research experience, the value of non-technical courses, the most interesting career opportunities that students see, as well as their reaction to what they heard in the Perspectives from Industry session.

Summary of the online survey

Perspectives from Faculty

This forum is designed to provide input from students and industry as our graduate programs evolve. The faculty’s questions include:

  1. Are graduate students acquiring the education and skills they need to be successful in today’s environment?
  2. Does the graduate curriculum need to change?  If so, how?  
  3. Should thesis research change? If so, how?  
  4. How much emphasis should be put on depth in EE vs. breadth?
  5. Is there a role for Masters degree students in the new electronics? If so, what is it?
  6. How can practicing engineers stay current? 
  7. What are the challenges in addressing these issues? The specific question to be discussed is: “What can faculty do in their graduate programs to address the challenges and opportunities raised in earlier sessions?”

Summary and Follow-up

Reflecting on the discussions, a brief summary with key conclusions and next steps was written, circulated for discussion, and is available here.

This forum was the first step in an on-going discussion.  Those interested in participating in the discussion and being involved in the next steps should contact Professor Mark Lundstrom (lundstro at purdue dot edu).