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D9: NSF and Industry Support for Convergence Curriculum Development

Topic: Affordable Technical Education Programs
Duration: 2:00pm - 6:00pm
Tim Ryan, City College of San Francisco
Pierre Thiry, City College of San Francisco
James Jones, Photisis Consulting

This seminar presents unique aspects of collaboration between government, education, private industry and community to benefit the San Francisco Bay Area through high-quality, affordable technical education and training programs.

City College of San Francisco (CCSF) has received a $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program to develop new courses, certificates and degrees in communications convergence technologies. The award was granted by demonstrating cooperation between the internal Information Technology Services organization (ITS) and the academic Computer Networking and Information Technology Department (CNIT) which utilizes the production ITS infrastructure as part of the academic learning environment. There are two key components of this infrastructure which have recently been installed and are appropriate for accomplishing the program goals. The first is a fiber-based Metro Area Network built in partnership with the City and County of San Francisco consisting of a 30-mile ring connecting 9 City College campuses and a telecommunications co-location facility. It is utilized as a hands-on laboratory for Last Mile technologies such as fiber-optic architecture and Metro Area Ethernet and is available to all IEEE members as a research platform. The second key component is a voice-over-IP telephone system which was purchased from Alcatel and includes 10 subsystems and approximately 2,000 telephone sets. It is used to provide experience in the operation and support of an enterprise-level telephone system and also serves as a model for designing a distributed VoIP system.

A panel of more than 30 business and industry members is actively involved in assisting City College in identifying the knowledge areas and skills that should be present in a revised curriculum to effectively prepare students for future employment. Some of the members are involved to a greater degree by participating in job fairs, internship programs and donation of equipment for hands-on learning. Industry organizations with a significant involvement in the program include Alcatel, at&t, Cisco, HP, Juniper and Verizon. Each is participating in a unique fashion which best suits their assets and the needs of the City College academic program.

A new academic program was started this summer, the “Communications Convergence Workshop”. It is a six-week series of introductory presentations including hands-on participation of the latest technologies: e.g. Fiber-Optic Technology, Metro/Wide Area Ethernet, Voice over IP, Video Networking, Juniper Routers and Wireless Technology. This workshop targeted High School teachers, City College students and the broader San Francisco community and involved several of our Industry partners who assisted in the presentation and showcase of their products.

The programs described above will be presented in detail and with an emphasis on the benefits achieved through a cooperative model of curriculum development. Questions from the audience will be encouraged in order to ensure effective dissemination of information.


Tim Ryan
Mr. Ryan is employed as a Network Manager at the City College of San Francisco and is responsible for the design, implementation and support of communications services across 10 campuses. Recently completed projects include a Voice-over-IP telephone system of 2,000 phones, Gigabit Ethernet access to Internet2 and a fiber-based Metro Area Network which was installed through a partnership with the City and County of San Francisco. Mr. Ryan is also the Co-PI on a NSF grant which established the Institute for Convergence of Optical and Network Systems (ICONS) and is currently developing new curriculum for the City College Computer Networking and Information Technology Department. Prior to employment with City College, Mr. Ryan was the Lead Network Engineer with Yipes Communications, a Metro Ethernet services provider. Mr. Ryan holds a BSEE degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and a Masters of Science in Information Systems from the University of San Francisco.

Pierre Thiry
Dr. Thiry has been a full time Instructor at City College of San Francisco since 1984. He was born in Belgium and obtained an Engineering degree (Mechanical and Electrical) from the University of Louvain and a Ph.D. in Engineering Science from U.C. Berkeley. From 1974 until 1977 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Montreal and from 1977 until 1983 he was Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ecole Polytechnique, actively participating in the research activities of the Biomedical Engineering Institute. He joined the Faculty of City College in August 1984 and from 1984 until 1998 he was a member of the Department of Engineering and Technology. He was also the Coordinator of the Environmental Technology Program from 1993 to 1997 and the Director of the Regional Environmental Business Resource and Assistance Center (REBRAC) from 1994 to 1998. He transferred to the Computer and Information Science Department and became the main contact for CCSF's Cisco Networking Academy. In the Fall of 2002, Dr. Thiry was the first chairperson of the newly created Computer Networking and Information Technology (CNIT) Department. In October 2005, the department was awarded a $750,000 3-year National Science Foundation ATE grant for the establishment of the Institute for Convergence of Optical and Network Systems (ICONS) of which Dr. Thiry is the Principal Investigator.

James Jones
Mr. Jones is an MBA who has been a consultant to enterprises in optimized management of telecommunications systems and services and Financial Planning Manager for all Califirnia and Nevada wireline operations at Pacific Bell. James was responsibe for large and unusual custom contracts across the 13-state footprint of SBC, including all Federal government and ISP contracts in California and the first OC-192 SONET service sold in California. James was a strategic marketing manager at Yipes Communications, the industry moving pioneer of Metro Ethernet services. For the last several years he has been at a boutique consulting organization that has trained Cisco Sales Engineers worldwide in optical communications technologies, provided management consulting services and assisted City College of San Francisco in establishing its metro optical network and developing and marketing its ICONS program.

Norival Figueira (Hammerhead Systems) norival@ieee.org
Dilip Krishnaswamy (Intel) dilip@ieee.org



Early Registration:
30 October

Hotel Reservation Deadline:
3 November