Chandler-Gilbert Community College: Developing the Digital Technologist for the New Millennium

Member Spotlight

Engineering instructors from across the United States will flock to Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) over the next three years to learn state-of-the-art technology thanks to a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). CGCC received the Advanced Technology Education grant, "Developing the Digital Technologist for the New Millennium," in partnership with the University of New Mexico.

CGCC engineering instructor Bassam Matar coauthored the grant and says that, along with Drake State Community College in Alabama, CGCC will host two different workshops per year that will allow attendees from community colleges and universities to work toward successful implementation of teaching digital logic with a new technology called Field Programmable Gates Array (FPGA). "This is a growing industry that needs technologists who can provide instant support for today's digital design systems," Matar said. "These efforts will allow instructors to understand how this can be accomplished at their schools and provide the necessary resources to ensure success."

Participating colleges and universities will receive labs and course materials ready to be taken back and used to teach engineering students at their campuses. "This project will develop and expand a community of knowledge in which instructors can work together to update their course material and curriculum based on new technology," Matar said. "Groups of instructors from different schools with different academic goals—robotics, controls, etc.—can form intersections where great educational advances can occur."

Avnet Vice President of Community Relations Teri Radosevich said there is a definite need for trained digital technologists in the electronics industry. "A significant gap exists between digital design techniques used in the electronics industry and what is being taught in the community college curriculum," Radosevich said. "It's critical that college graduates have working knowledge of current design techniques, and in particular for digital design of FPGA, because of the mainstream role they play in today's electronics."

CGCC engineering student Kevin Reed says that he chose CGCC because the college's engineering program offers training in cutting-edge technologies not offered at other community colleges. "We have the opportunity to learn software that is currently used in the industry and is being taught at the university level," Reed said. "Transferring over to the university already knowing the software will give me a leg up as I complete my degree and start looking for jobs in the industry."

Contact: Bassam Matar, 480.732.7139