The Electrical Engineering Department at Cal Poly has a commitment to hands-on study through a lab intensive curriculum. Our commitment to a strong laboratory experience is evidenced by staffing labs with full time faculty members, by closely intertwined lecture and lab courses, and by a large number of lab courses that are required for students. Our labs are the means by which the Cal Poly "Learn by Doing" philosophy can be achieved.
The EE Department faces significant challenges in order to sustain laboratory renovations and improvements. This is driven in part by the ever expanding diversity in the field of Electrical Engineering. Efforts must be continually made to widen our curriculum and labs to better prepare students for the life-long learning that will be required for them! Our lab facilities need renovation not only to meet expanding educational goals, but also to keep ahead of an anticipated sharp increase in student enrollment - due to increases in the state population.
The department depends on charitable contributions in order to supplement state funding. We have sustained a long term relationship with a number of industrial partners, for which we are greatly appreciative. Philanthropic donations that result from these partnerships are mutually beneficial. For example, equipment donations result in direct exposure of a company's product to new engineers. Also, Cal Poly students bring their lab experiences into the work force in CO-OP positions and in their long term employment. In addition to these types of highly valued donations, the Electrical Engineering Department is also interested in setting up an endowment specifically for our laboratories, to support yearly maintenance costs and for needed expansion into new technology areas.
We invite you to take a virtual tour of our laboratories!
Laboratory Development Efforts - Academic Labs
A number of lab development activities are on-going in the EE Department. These are diverse efforts, that include new kinds of simulation environments, new facilities with new courses, and virtual laboratories. The discussions provided below focus more on educational goals and on learning objectives. Some of the projects described are geared toward a single lab room, others address needs/innovations more generally.
The links listed below are to pages that describe some of these efforts.
Laboratory Development Efforts - Project Labs
In addition to supporting labs with traditional academic objectives, the EE Department also provides support for labs with targeted project goals. These types of labs enhance the education of our students by giving them the experience of working on engineering projects, that are often industry-sponsored. In addition to the engineering experience gained on these projects, students also benefit in their achievement of academic goals - such as Senior Projects, Independent Studies, and Masters Theses. Faculty members will typically supervise these efforts by managing a project and serving as the primary liaison to industry. A variety of these labs exist, with a long history of projects.
Five-Year Laboratory Development Plan
This plan is organized by the physical location of lab rooms, each appearing as a link below. The discussion for each lab room includes a description of the courses associated with the facility. This plan includes laboratories for both Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering (CPE).
The pages that describe each lab include the name of a designated room coordinator. The lab courses offered in that room are also listed. The square footage of each room is noted, along with the number of students served by the room on an annual basis (when appropriate). This allows a utilization ratio to be computed: this is the number of students served per square foot of room space. The utilization ratio metric is of interest in that it numerically indicates the relative degree of use of a laboratory room. It should be noted, of course, that highly specialized senior labs are, of necessity, less "used" than basic "core laboratories." These numerical figures must be evaluated in this context.
Comments or suggestions on this report may be sent to Prof. Mike Cirovic, Department Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org
A key component to any lab plan is its identification of the paths to take to acquire needed resources. We have traditionally pursued, and will continue to pursue, the following approaches to equipment acquisition:
- Direct purchase from State-supported funds (a very limited resource.)
- Application for Federal and State-supported equipment grants (these often involve the commitment of matching funds or equipment; great care must therefore be taken.)
- Appeal to alumni for cash and gift-in-kind support (a consistent, but limited level of support, especially for major purchases.)
- Requests to our industrial friends and supporters.
As this plan evolves, it will be necessary for us to develop a phased-in, prioritized, approach that is reachable and meaningful. Your feedback in this process is essential.
We are in the process of establishing an endowment for our laboratories. This is an important endeavor for the Department. It will provide discretionary funding that is very important for both Faculty time and for equipment. Some equipment needs are for basic items, like component decade boxes. These are less 'glamorous' items, for which it is more difficult to attract industrial funding. Also, Faculty time is critical to permit the new equipment to be integrated into laboratory experiments. We are currently building the Lab Endowment through generous contributions from alumni and our industrial friends and supporters.
Resource Needs, Room-by-Room