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September 1998


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Department Adds Courses, Degrees, Research in Northern Virginia

The Department has expanded its on-site course offerings and degree options at the Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church . The Department is also expanding its research activities in the region with the opening of the Alexandria Research Institute (ARI), and preparing to offer a Ph.D. residency program.

The opening of the ARI is the result of work by the College Implementation Committee headed by Department Head Leonard Ferrari, and composed of M. Karmis (MINE), J. Casali (ISE), R. Gordon (MSE), W. O'Brien (ME), W. Knocke (CE), M. McPherson, P. Kurstedt, and S. Rahman (ECE. "We are committed to helping the high-tech industries in the region meet their growing need for graduate education," Ferrari said. "We are moving toward a 'full-service' graduate program in the area and will be recruiting several new faculty over the next few years."

Northern Virginia ECE Faculty

Five full-time, and four adjunct ECE faculty members are presently assigned to Northern Virginia. Saifur Rahman has been appointed as the first director of the ARI and will also serve as ECE program director for Northern Virginia; Jeremy Allnutt, a communications expert; Luiz DaSilva, a networking and communications expert, and Yosef Tirat-Gefen, a computer engineering expert, are permanent, resident faculty members. In addition, Scott Midkiff, a networks and computer engineering expert, is assigned full time to Northern Virginia for the current academic year. The Department is recruiting two new faculty for the Institute this year.

Adjunct faculty members, who all hold the Ph.D. degree and are experts in communications and computer engineering, include Tom Drayer, Joe Knight, Dennis McCaughey, and Dan Schaefer.

On-Site Courses

For the fall '98 semester, eight courses are being taught on-site at the NV Graduate Center. Two additional courses, taught on the Blacksburg campus, are available at the graduate center via NET.WORK.VIRGINIA, a state-wide asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) network. Another course is being delivered using the World Wide Web. About 12 computer science courses are also taught on-site each semester.

Graduate Program Options

Graduate students in Northern Virginia have several degree or certification options available. The standard M.S.E.E. and M.S.Cp.E. degrees require 30 credits and have thesis and non-thesis options. Noncredit studies are also available.

Starting this year, the University is offering a Graduate Program in Information Technology (GPIT) through which students may earn certification in a specialty or a master's degree. The program is an innovative blend of coursework in communications, networking, computer engineering, software development, business information systems, and decision support systems.

The program, developed in consultation with the Northern Virginia Technology Council, is composed of a modular series of eight-week courses. Upon completion of 7.5 hours in any one specialty, a student is awarded a certificate. Satisfactory completion of any three specialty modules plus an additional 7.5 semester hours of prerequisite/elective and capstone work qualifies for a master's degree.

Alexandria Research Institute

The ARI is networked to the Blacksburg campus and the Graduate Center, and faculty doing research at the Institute also teach at Falls Church. Engineering research at the Institute is focused on the development and deployment of information technology. At present, Rahman, Midkiff, Allnutt, Tirat-Gefen, and DaSilva are conducting research at the Institute, in addition to faculty from other engineering disciplines. Additional research centers from the Department and College will be moving researchers to the ARI. It is expected that within the next few years, more than 100 researchers, students and staff will join the ARI.

The Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Virginia Tech

Last Updated, November 22 1998
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