The Education Program of the BMES ERC is of very high priority. Our goals are to:
(1) increase students’ exposure to the biomedical science, engineering principles and state-of-the-art technology that are central to the development of biomimetic microelectronic neural implants;
(2) introduce students to the practical and regulatory aspects of medical device development through courses and participation in corporate internships or industry-based directed research; and
(3) enhance the level of interdisciplinary research, teaching and communication, in particular between the faculty and students in engineering, medicine, and the biomedical sciences.
We have put forth a significant focus at the undergraduate and graduate level in areas related to the work in our ERC as well as focusing on increasing the involvement of underrepresented minorities. The six new BMES ERC courses and one revised course that were introduced have now become permanent classes in the USC Biomedical Engineering curriculum, and all have been offered least once in their final forms. These new and revised course offerings have been integrated with other existing courses to produce three coherent specialty tracks at the undergraduate and graduate levels: a subspecialty track in Neuroengineering in the BS-BME program, a specialty track in Neuroengineering in the Master’s of Science (MS) in BME program, and the MS in Medical Devices and Diagnostic Engineering program. We have developed surveys based on the ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) model and used these tools to assess the effectiveness of the new courses. We established an Education Assessment Advisory Board and have begun working with the USC Rossier School of Education to develop more sophisticated and focused methodologies for assessing the impact of our Education program. One of the new courses, BME-552: Neural Implant Engineering, has been offered via USC’s Distance Education Network to UC Santa Cruz students. We have made significant progress in increasing the number of undergraduates who are involved in undergraduate research in BMES ERC laboratories