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«UCC/UGC/ECCC Proposal for New Academic Plan Fall 2016 If this new plan is not listed in the current NAU academic program inventory, then you must ...»

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Proposal for New Academic Plan

Fall 2016

If this new plan is not listed in the current NAU academic program inventory, then you must first

complete the academic planning framework

If this new certificate will be eligible for federal financial aid, then please submit the gainful

employment application.

All Plans with NCATE/CAEP designation, or plans seeking NCATE/CAEP designation, must

include an NCATE/CAEP Accreditation Memo of Approval from the NAU NCATE/CAEP

administrator prior to submission.

UCC proposals must include an 8-term plan (if applicable).

UGC proposals must include a program of study.

Biological Sciences, College of Engineering, Forestry, and Mechanical Engineering

1. College: 2. Academic Unit:

Natural Sciences DOCTORAL PROGRAM in

3. Academic Plan Name: 4. Emphasis:


5. Plan proposal: New Plan New Emphasis

6. Justification for the new plan or certificate, including how the need for the plan was determined.

Please also address how it is designed to meet local market, professional requirements, employment opportunities, or other needs.

Justification: A comprehensive, interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Bioengineering will prepare graduates who are ready to enter one of the fastest growing and highest paid local, state, and national job markets, as well as provide highly trained students to accelerate research productivity and increase extramural funding of NAU faculty.

Determination of Need: The need for the plan was determined using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, NAU’s Strategic Plan, the Arizona Board of Regents’ 2020 Vision, data on similar programs in the State of Arizona and the Southwestern U.S., as well as discussions with stakeholders including participating NAU departments and representatives of a dozen local and regional bioengineering businesses (see attached letters of support).

Local Market Needs, Professional Requirements, and Employment Opportunities: Multidisciplinary research collaborations between Biological Sciences and Mechanical Engineering have been fostered by the new Center for Bioengineering Innovation and the new Informatics and Computing Program at NAU. A new doctoral program in Bioengineering will facilitate the development of partnerships with local and state industries including W. L. Gore & Associates, Protein Genomics Inc., Barrow Neurological Institute, NACET, the Arizona Commerce Authority, and others to achieve mutual research and educational goals. A Bioengineering program would also expand NAU’s intellectual Effective Fall 2015 1 property portfolio, promoting NAU Technology Transfer spin-offs, increasing collaborations with the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET), and creating new business startups in the region. Increasing technology transfer spin-offs is a nationwide trend that many top universities and institutions have leveraged to increase revenue. While technology transfer is increasing in all disciplines, the life sciences are a major driving force.

The program will significantly expand NAU’s research strengths in the areas of biomaterials and biomechanics research while building capacity for basic research in the life sciences to be translated into engineering solutions in the biotechnology sector. New hires in the areas of biomaterials, biomechanics, drug delivery, and transcriptomics will significantly enhance the ability of NAU’s existing life sciences researchers to participate in technology transfer of their work.

There is a growing and unmet demand from undergraduate and graduate students for courses and training in Bioengineering in Arizona which is only partially addressed by the current Biomedical Engineering offerings from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona (see below). NAU is poised to provide students with a new program option while also fulfilling a greater state need for broader Bioengineering expertise beyond Biomedical engineering.

Bioengineering is a quickly growing job market in Arizona, where demand will continue to be strong because of an aging population and an increased need for medical care. Additionally, increased public awareness of bioengineering and biomedical advances is driving more students to these fields of study (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015).

Arizona State University offers a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering that, while providing a broad-based education in both engineering and the life and natural sciences, is focused on improving the overall quality of global health care, particularly in the areas of adaptive neural systems, assistive technologies, advanced diagnostics, monitoring and treatment of disease, and individualized medicine. The University of Arizona also offers a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering with research emphases in the areas of bioimaging, bioprocessing, cardiovascular nanomedicine, and sensors & implementation.

We plan to create a unique Ph.D. program within the state that would support iconic research projects in the areas of biomaterials and biomechanics at NAU, not limited to biomedical applications. These projects will range beyond biomedical engineering per se, including such areas as energy efficient remote sensing, engineering of artificial “plants,” muscle-like actuation, and others. Additionally, we have targeted our program primarily for training of leaders in industrial research and development, although we do expect that some of our trainees may elect to stay in academia.

Unique program features that support this goal include mentoring by professors of practice who are active entrepreneur scientists, industrial internships arranged by students’ advisory committees and supported by program administrators, and an optional certificate in business foundations.

California leads the southwestern United States in number of Biomedical (4) and Bioengineering (6) Ph.D. programs.

California universities with doctoral programs in Bioengineering include Caltech, Stanford, University of California at San Diego, San Diego State University, and a joint Bioengineering program co-sponsored by UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, where one mechanical engineering graduate from NAU recently matriculated.

The remainder of the southwestern U.S. is sparsely populated with Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering programs. Idaho offers no such programs, whereas New Mexico offers a single Ph.D. program in Biomedical Engineering at the University of New Mexico. Nevada offers a single Ph.D. program in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Nevada at Reno, Colorado offers a single Ph.D. program in Biomedical Engineering at Colorado State University, and Utah offers doctoral programs in both Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Utah and a doctoral program in Biological Engineering at Utah State University.

The lack of sustainability of Ph.D. programs in Biology and Biomedicine is widely touted. There are already more trainees with Ph.D.s than the workforce can support. This trend does not extend to Bioengineering, where there is a current workforce need for bioengineers, primarily in the private sector. Biomedical engineering is expected to be the fastestgrowing job market in the United States during the next seven years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Between 2014 and 2022, the number of biomedical engineers is projected to rise much faster than the average for all

–  –  –

We propose a curriculum that is broadly similar to many other doctoral programs in Bioengineering. Interdisciplinary doctoral work requires breadth of disciplinary knowledge as well as highly specialized knowledge and skills in the area of research focus. Coursework in Interdisciplinary programs is thus typically broad in scope, and each student’s program of study is highly individualized. Our program is modeled after one of the largest and highly ranked: the joint UCSF UC Berkeley Bioengineering Ph.D. Program (http://bioegrad.berkeley.edu). Most Bioengineering Ph.D. programs require students to take courses in biology, engineering, and quantitative disciplines (mathematics, statistics, computing). To fulfill the breadth of knowledge in bioengineering, students typically select from a list of 400- and 500-level courses that are often co-convened with undergraduate and graduate students.

We will work closely with the Graduate College to develop a marketing plan for this new doctoral program. Our recruitment efforts will target students with a M.S. in biology, engineering, or a related field, and broadly trained undergraduate students with previous research experience. We believe that, first and foremost, students will apply to our program because they are interested in participating in the transformative bioengineering research opportunities that the Graduate Faculty in Bioengineering at NAU can provide. Doctoral programs were historically targeted toward students interested in academic careers. It is evident that there is now significant interest in doctoral-level research undertaken at universities with industrial partners; such programs act as pathways to a variety of additional professional careers. We think that the first students to matriculate in our program will accept our offers of admission due to familiarity with and interest in specific faculty research projects and the career opportunities that they can provide. In the longer term, we aim to attract an increasingly large applicant pool on the basis of the reputation of the program’s outstanding research achievements and the placement of our graduates into both industrial and academic research positions.

The Provost and President plan to include this new Doctoral Program in Bioengineering in the Academic Strategic Plan in February 2016. Although a select few interested students may enter the program as early as Fall 2016 through the Ph.D.

Program in Biology, marketing and recruitment is targeted for Fall 2016 for a full cohort of students who would be admitted in Fall 2017. Admission of a few students for Fall 2016 will help to meet NAU and ABOR goals for increasing the number of doctoral degrees completed by 2020. Although we do not plan to request approval of new courses for the program at this time, we anticipate that a number of new courses will be developed within the next 18 months. New courses that we plan to develop include: Internship in Bioengineering, Nanomaterials, Instrumentation, Microelectrical Mechanical Systems (MEMS), Bioengineering Product Development, Bioengineering Research Methods, Biorobotics, and specialty courses taught by new faculty hires.

7. Student learning outcomes of the plan. If structured as plan/emphasis, include for both core and emphasis. (Resources, Examples & Tools for Developing Effective Program Student Learning Outcomes) Student Learning Outcomes: Students will build skills and knowledge through formal coursework and an original dissertation project. The goal is to foster students’ abilities to identify and synthesize fundamental principles of bioengineering and apply them to complex problems. NAU graduates with a Ph.D. in Bioengineering will have achieved the

following learning outcomes:

LO1 Identify major theories, research methods, and technical approaches that support the development of bioengineered devices or systems for the benefit of society at large.

LO2 Investigate biological systems’ morphology and behavior, and transfer their features in novel bio-engineered systems through deployment of mechanical engineering tools such as mechanism analysis, structural analysis, continuum mechanics, kinematics, and dynamics.

–  –  –

LO4 Identify, survey, analyze, organize, and critically distill information from the scientific literature within the bioengineering research area and formulate open research questions.

LO5 Independently apply appropriate expertise, methods, and tools to the creative design, execution, and assessment of an investigation that addresses original bioengineering research questions.

LO6 Compose and engage in highly effective written and oral communication in bioengineering areas; demonstrate clear argumentation and logical cohesion in a variety of written and oral communications, including scholarly dissemination, funding requests, industry, and lay-communication.

Assessment of Student Performance: Our assessment plan is outlined in Table 2, which refers to the learning outcomes described above and to core and emphasis courses and milestones described in Section 8 (below). Progress will be assessed yearly by each student’s Advisory Committee, which will consist of the major advisor and at least four additional committee members from the Bioengineering Graduate Faculty, with at least one faculty member from both Biology and Mechanical Engineering on each graduate student’s committee.

–  –  –

8. Academic Catalog text and requirements:

8a. Text to be displayed in the Academic Description field in the academic catalog (max 3


The Doctor of Philosophy in Bioengineering allows advanced students to pursue their academic interests and to develop their research skills while studying with faculty specialists in the broad field of bioengineering. Bioengineering research is highly interdisciplinary and facilitates collaborations among faculty and students from several departments across campus including Biology, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Physics, and Physical Therapy. Students from a wide range of science backgrounds can enter this program. The goal of the program is to educate future leaders in industry and academia in the field of Bioengineering.

This doctoral degree provides advanced training in research and technology development through focused coursework, extensive research experience, and industry collaboration. In this program, students will join a new generation of industry leaders, scientists, and engineers who will be uniquely trained to embrace opportunities in the Bioengineering field. The goal of this degree is to foster interdisciplinary, collaborative, and transformative research that lies between traditional science and engineering sub-disciplines. The program promotes professional development by Effective Fall 2015 4 emphasizing excellence in research and effective communication of ideas and findings.

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