Monday, February 2, 2009

Camden County College: An OP-TEC Partner College

OP-TEC is a consortium of two year colleges that have well-established photonics programs. These “Partner Colleges” are the models for OP-TEC curricula; they develop and test instructional modules, guides, innovative courses and teaching strategies; and they provide technical assistance to colleges that are planning and initiating new offerings in photonics. Camden County College (CCC), in Blackwood, NJ, was an early pioneer in Laser/Electro-Optics Technology (LEOT) technician education. In 1976, Dr. Fred Seeber initiated CCC’s LEOT program with one small lab and minimal equipment. In 1989, the college opened the nationally recognized Laser Institute of Technology for Education and Research (LITER). This 12,000 square foot facility houses the offices, classrooms and state-of-the-art labs (7 high powered laser labs, 7 low powered laser labs, and 4 fiber-optic labs) for the CCC photonics programs. Since its inception, CCC has graduated over 500 technicians; today, many of these graduates are presidents and CEOs of their own company.

The Photonics program at CCC has two tracts:

  1. The LEOT option, with 6 laser specialty courses, 4 electronics courses, 2 physics courses and 2 math courses. This option is also divided into a non-calculus and calculus path depending on the student’s ability and interest to enter employment or a BS program after graduation.
  2. The Fiber/Optics option, with 4 laser specialty courses, 3 fiber/optics courses and 3 electronics courses. Students in the Fiber/Optics option can earn a certificate, a (non-calculus) AAS or select a “calculus path” to enable them to transfer to a 4 year program.
    Both options require computer courses.

In addition to their role as an OP-TEC model, college mentor and provider of technical assistance, CCC provides other, unique services to OP-TEC:

  • Dr. Seeber (who is now emeritus professor at CCC) is the Chair of the ANSI Z136 Committee on the Safe Use of Lasers in Educational Facilities, and the lead author of the ANSI Standard. He writes the safety procedures for OP-TEC teaching materials and conducts mini-workshops on this topic for OP-TEC at regional and national conferences.
  • Dr. Raman Kolluri has worked with OP-TEC to develop online professional development courses for training new photonics faculty in colleges and high schools. (Another course will be starting in early March, 2009). Fred and Raman also host the “3-Day Capstone” for this course at LITER, where participants work all the labs and counsel with CCC staff on photonics equipment and implementation issues.
  • Dr. Seeber has begun to develop an OP-TEC Photonics Technician Alumni Council, which will provide a network for communications and leadership among photonics technicians.

CCC's participation as a Partner College in OP-TEC has provided professional development opportunities for Fred and Raman, a leadership role for CCC in photonics education and potential enrollment growth in CCC’s photonics programs through their testing of innovative student recruitment strategies with local high schools.

Are you a graduate of CCC? Tell me about your experience at CCC. Where are you working now? How did your education at CCC prepare you for your career?

Contact information for CCC:
(856) 227-7200

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