Barry L. Shoop, an SPIE Fellow and professor at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, is receiving the 2013 SPIE Educator Award for his work on the development of program criteria for optical and photonics engineering in the undergraduate college curriculum in the United States.
Shoop, who chairs the SPIE Education Committee, is also the SPIE representative director on the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), a federation of 30 professional and technical societies that acts as the recognized accreditor for U.S. college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. ABET has designated SPIE as the co-lead society for optics and photonics criteria.
As the SPIE representative on the ABET board, Shoop has overseen the implementation of requirements used for accreditation of undergraduate degrees in optical and photonics engineering.
Shoop is doing a “fantastic job” of leading a group working to make accreditation a reality, says SPIE Senior Member Marc Nantel of Niagara College (Canada), also a volunteer on the SPIE Education Committee.
“This is no small task,” Nantel says, “and I must commend him for his critical work at bringing IEEE, SPIE, and ABET together on this process-heavy partnership. When new ABET-accredited photonics engineering programs emerge in the future, it will be in great part due to Barry Shoop’s tireless efforts.”
In leading the accreditation group, Shoop studied ABET’s currently accredited undergraduate engineering programs in optics and photonics to determine common elements and to ensure that any new criteria would encompass existing programs and others that will be developed.
In 2012, Shoop outlined the process of gaining ABET accreditation in a paper titled, “ABET accreditation and optics and photonics engineering: an association whose time has come.”
“The growth and influence of optical and photonics engineering as a discipline warrants increased recognition within both academia and industry,” Shoop and co-author Kathleen Robinson, education services manager at SPIE, write in the paper. “A number of existing and emerging optical engineering, optical science, and photonics programs across the country are attracting some of the best and brightest students, and these programs clearly need a base of organized standards at the undergraduate level.
“Defining separate and distinct criteria within ABET for optical and photonics engineering signals another step in the maturation of the field and defines it as a separate discipline within the engineering profession.”
Shoop is a U.S. Army colonel and past director of the Photonics Research Center at West Point who serves as deputy department head of the Electrical Engineering program. He is one of more than 100 West Point professors who helped build the National Military Academy of Afghanistan, the first engineering-focused military school in Afghanistan that was founded 10 years ago to help rebuild the infrastructure in the war-torn country.
Shoop has a PhD from Stanford University, an MS from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a BS from Pennsylvania State University, all in electrical engineering.
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