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ECE Seminar Series


ISTeC Distinguished Lecture in conjunction with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Computer Science Department Seminar Series

Title: The Vertically-Integrated Projects (VIP) Program: Enabling Everyone to Participate in the Innovation Process
Speaker: Ed Coyle
Affiliation: Georgia Institute of Technology
Day: Monday, September 29, 2014
Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: Morgan Library Event Hall

Abstract: To ensure the world's health and prosperity, we must continue to enhance our ability to innovate within and across all disciplines. The people who will develop and implement the innovations that will be needed in the future are the students currently sitting in our classrooms. And that is a problem - they are /sitting in our classrooms/. Despite the fact that they are generally the brightest and most highly motivated people of their generation, we provide them with very few opportunities to be innovative. We only allow them to test their creativity and skills on small-scale tasks or problems that we create, not the complex technical and social problems that they can already see all around them. When we do allow them some freedom to be innovative, we confine their efforts to problems and projects that are constrained to fit within semester boundaries and/or match narrow learning objectives. We rarely allow them to work with their classmates, with people of other disciplines, or with us, the faculty, on anything truly meaningful. In summary, our current approach to educating our students is /preventing/ them from being innovative.

The goal of the Vertically-Integrated Projects (VIP) program is to solve this problem. Its unique curricular structure overcomes the atomization of education into disciplines, semesters, and courses by enabling the creation and long-term operation of large, multidisciplinary teams consisting of undergraduates, graduate students and faculty. Its unique project selection process results in projects that excite and challenge undergraduates and have sufficient depth to benefit faculty members' research efforts. It thus creates a community of innovation that includes and benefits everyone on campus. .

A variety of VIP projects from different universities will be used to illustrate the current breadth and depth of the program. They will demonstrate the many ways that VIP projects and the program itself achieve significant outcomes in: project? based learning; development, deployment and commercialization of research ideas; teaching analytical, technical and professional skills; enabling multidisciplinary education and research; and fostering innovative thinking and behavior throughout the university. .

The VIP Consortium is being created to achieve systemic reform of higher education by enabling the rapid implementation and growth of VIP Programs at participating universities. This will be achieved by: Sharing processes, software, and evaluation practices amongst all members in order to achieve significant economies of scale; Creating consortium-wide proposals to foundations and gov't funding organizations to provide resources for each VIP site and the Consortium in general; Enabling project teams with similar interests to find each other and collaborate no matter where they are located; and, Fostering Consortium-wide communities of students and faculty with common interests.


Bio: Edward J. Coyle received a B.E.E. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 1978 and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University in 1982. From 1982 through 2007, he was a faculty member at Purdue University, where he served at various times as Assistant Vice Provost for Research, Co-Director of the Center for Wireless Systems and Applications, Co-Founder of the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program, and Founder of the Vertically-Integrated Projects (VIP) program. Dr. Coyle joined Georgia Tech in 2008, where he is a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, the Arbutus Chair for the Integration of Research and Education, and Director of the VIP Program. He is also fostering the creation of the VIP Consortium, whose membership currently consists of 18 universities that are working together to implement and grow VIP Programs on their campuses. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and has received a variety of awards, including the 1987 Best Paper Award from the IEEE Signal Processing Society and the 2005 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education from the National Academy of Engineering. His research interests include wireless and sensor networks, signal and information processing, and undergraduate education.