Robert Bowman, professor of electrical and microelectronic engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, was recently named a strategic advocate for the Analog Devices University Program initiative. He will serve as one of four distinguished advisers working with the program directors to develop online and downloadable software and teaching materials about analog circuits. The material is being created for students in engineering and the physical sciences.
Part of Bowman’s role includes evaluating a compact instrument device called the Analog Discovery Module that was co-developed by Analog Devices and Digilent Inc.
The module is a laboratory in a backpack, Bowman says. It is about the size of a deck of cards, yet will be a practical substitute for some advanced equipment found in university engineering laboratories.
“I believe this small module will change the way we educate students in the areas of analog and digital electronics, control systems and signal processing,” says Bowman, who is the director of the Analog Devices Integrated Microsystems Laboratory in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering. “As an electrical engineering student, the ability to explore the world on your own is invaluable.”
Launched in March 2012, the Analog Devices University Program was created with Digilent Inc. to enhance engineering students’ educational experience with portable analog design kits, course materials and online support. Students using the kits can independently experiment, design, build and test real-world, functional analog circuits.
Analog Devices chose the university advocates based on previous experience with the company and their work to improve the education of electrical engineering students in the areas of analog electronics. Bowman has worked closely with the company since starting at RIT in 2002. He leads work with industry and students to conduct research in analog and mixed-signal design, signal processing techniques and integrated nanotechnology—technologies integral to the development of biomedical, telecommunications and consumer electronic devices.
“This is an opportunity to be involved in an exciting program that will change the landscape of higher education in electrical engineering,” Bowman says. “I’ve always been an proponent of hands-on experience in educating engineering students. One of the problems when you are developing online courses for engineering is how are you going to deliver the laboratory component? This module now enables that to happen.”
Joining Bowman as advocates are Kenneth Connor, professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Kathleen Meehan, associate professor, Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Tech; and John Robertson, professor, Department of Engineering, College of Technology and Innovation, Arizona State University.
“Professors Connor, Meehan, Robertson and Bowman are outstanding educators teaching at some of the best engineering schools in the country. They are passionate about preparing the next generation of engineers to succeed in the workforce and possess a keen, first-hand understanding of the needs of today’s engineering students,” says Samuel Fuller, chief technology officer, Analog Devices.