Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program

The Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program (CGEP)

Program Overview
Background of the Program
Contacts
Future of the Program


Program Overview

The University of Virginia (UVa) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI), in cooperation with Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Old Dominion University (ODU), and George Mason University (GMU), deliver televised graduate engineering courses to areas in the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as some out-of-state sites. Beginning in Fall 1998, lectures will be delivered via an asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) on Net.Work.Virginia within the state and via videoconferencing equipment to out-of-state sites. This means that classes are two-way video and two-way audio. It should be noted that on-grounds students at the University of Virginia also take these courses in the studio classroom as they are delivered to the off-site campuses.

This program effort is in response to one of the State Council of Higher Education's objectives to expand technical education opportunities for Virginians. The primary intent is to provide engineers and other qualified individuals with strong backgrounds in the sciences an opportunity to pursue a program in graduate studies leading to a master's degree in engineering. However, courses may also be taken on a non-degree, continuing education basis. At the University of Virginia, CGEP students are treated just like students enrolled on-grounds in Charlottesville and the degree obtained is the same as one earned on-grounds. Thereby, these students have certain responsibilities, including adhering to the University of Virginia Honor Code.

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Background of the Program

The Program began in the Fall semester of 1983 with the UVA broadcasts being extended to a single receiving site located in the Cabell Library at VCU. During this initial year, two courses in Materials Science and two courses in Civil Engineering were offered. This initiation provided the necessary learning experience in the operation of all the associated equipment and provided the experiment from which data on the success of this extended classroom concept could be obtained. Although certain minimal problems were encountered, the overall program was met with much enthusiasm and was considered quite successful.

Beginning with the Fall semester of 1984, courses in the following engineering disciplines were offered each semester: Chemical; Materials Science, Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, and Systems Engineering. Also, several industrial classrooms became operational, receiving both the UVa and VPI broadcasts via instructional television fixed service (ITFS) transmitters in the host institutions' regions. In addition, the Telestar facility (UVa Continuing Education in Falls Church, Virginia) became operational in the Spring semester, 1985. In the 1985-86 semester, our courses could be received by 16 off-grounds locations.

Starting in Fall 1986, our courses were offered via satellite. Our broadcasts could now reach all regions of Virginia and locations out-of-state as well. The course offerings were also expanded from six courses per semester to eight. The Fall 1986 semester began with 22 off-grounds receive sites operating; two of these sites were out-of-state, with one in Maryland and one in Pennsylvania. Sites in Tennessee and New York were added in 1987.

Since 1987, the UVa Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering degree has provided an emphasis on our Manufacturing Systems specialty. Nuclear Engineering, added in the Fall of 1988, was the seventh graduate engineering degree to be offered by the University of Virginia on television. However, in 1997 it was decided to phase out the Nuclear program and concentrate on offering additional courses to round out our Mechanical and Aerospace Program. In 1994 we changed our satellite transmission from an analog to a digital signal; and in Fall 1998 we have been delivering classes using a videoconferencing format via Net.Work.Virginia and ISDN lines.

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Contacts

Respective points of contact, who provide regional support in terms of personal contacts and administration as well as offering selected supporting courses, are listed here: Return to the top

The Future of the Program

We hope that this program will continue to expand with more and more industries establishing on-site classrooms for participation in courses offered by both the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech. This could also lead to an increased activity in specialized continuing education programming designed specifically to industrial needs but outside that of the degree programs. Future utilization of the state-wide facilities for seminars, workshops, and short courses is also a possibility.

At the University of Virginia, we look forward to serving more students with this versatile and exciting program.


How the Program Works

Degree Programs

Return to: Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program Home Page.


Mail comments to rfk2u@virginia.edu

Last modified: May 14, 2003