The Center for Natnotechnology Education and Utilization (CNEU) is home to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Regional Center for Nanofabrication Manufacturing Education. This NSF Advanced Technology Education (ATE) Center involves more than 30 institutions of higher education, secondary schools, private industry, and others in a joint effort to meet the expanding needs of Pennsylvania industry for skilled nanofabrication workers particularly at the associate degree level. The key feature of the Center is its emphasis on hands-on laboratory experience. This hands-on experience is incorporated into associate degree programs in nanofabrication offered by every Pennsylvania community college, technical colleges, and Penn State campuses across the state, K-12 outreach programs, and baccalaureate-level concentrations and minors in nanotechnology at public universities across Pennsylvania. In addition, 2+2+2 pathways linking these programs, plus robust professional development programs for educators and industry personnel have been established by the Center.
This ATE Regional Center for Nanofabrication Manufacturing Education is governed by six topical working committees addressing administration, articulation, course and program development, professional development, program funding, and student recruitment. The membership of these committees comes from the 30 member institutions. A representative of a community college or a State System of Higher Education (SSHE) university chairs each committee. In addition to the working committees, the Center relies upon a variety of other information exchange and oversight mechanisms to enhance management and coordination, including an industry advisory board, bi-monthly electronic bulletins, semi-annual meetings of all Center partners, an annual conference, special topic meetings, quarterly reporting by all Center partners, and a National Visiting Committee which meets annually.
The Center Builds Programs and Provided Resources by Offering
* Hands-on laboratory experiences for students:The 18-credit capstone semester in nanofabrication is taught at the Penn State Nanofabrication Facility
* Nanotechnology course and program development: Every community college in Pennsylvania now offers an associate degree in nanofabrication.
* Student recruitment materials: Videos, displays, and brochures complement three-day summer "Nanotech Camps" for secondary students at Penn State.
* Articulated 2+2+2 educational pathways: Pathways from secondary schools throug associate degrees to baccalaureate degrees and beyond are in place.
* Job placement services for students: Nanofabrication job fairs are held every semester at Penn State for community college students.
* Professional development workshops for educators: Educators learn about nanotechnology and help develop learning tools for use in their classrooms.
* Nanotechnology instructional materials: Efforts focus on developing hands-on nanotechnology laboratory experiences for use by community colleges.