Western Carolina University, College of Applied Sciences
Center for Integrated Technologies

Western Carolina University (WCU) proposes the creation of a Center for Integrated Technologies (CIT) to be located in the College of Applied Sciences in Cullowhee. The creation of CIT will continue to support the vision at Western to be a catalyst for promoting sustainable economic development and growth in the western region of North Carolina.

The faculty and staff affiliated with CIT will provide a major focus on education and research in the areas of photonics, network and telecommunication technologies, and manufacturing (with a primary focus on rapid prototyping and applied laser technology). Building and expanding on these technologies will create excellent incentives for high technology companies to locate in the western region of North Carolina, with Western Carolina University's new Millennial Campus being an attractive destination.

CIT will promote a close collaborative partnership with faculty and facility resources at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The UNC Charlotte Center for Optical Electronics and Optical Communication will serve as a valuable resource for Western Carolina University faculty and students working in photonics and networking and telecommunication technology. This collaborative partnership will maximize the investment of capital in equipment and facilities and avoid wasteful duplication.

This unique partnership between Western Carolina University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte will not only link the two Centers together for collaborative work, but will open the door for other collaborative efforts involving UNC Charlotte's Center for Precision Metrology and the Center for Network and Information Security.

The collaborative work between the faculties will greatly enhance the educational and research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students from both institutions. Linking the activities of the two Centers will also provide business and industry with access to knowledge resources essential to high technology enterprises.

This partnership will allow both universities of higher learning to foster joint faculty appointments and faculty exchanges, sharing of facilities and equipment, and provide students from Western and UNC Charlotte joint access to the resources of both institutions. This collaborative effort will also create an environment for faculty members to explore the potential of future opportunities for joint participation in proposal development in funded research programs.

The three primary areas in which Western's Center for Integrated Technologies will focus are Photonics, Network and Telecommunication Engineering which will include both Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC), Wireless Mobile Computing, and Manufacturing application expertise which focuses on Stereo Lithography (Rapid Prototyping) and other applied laser technologies.

Center Outcomes will be:

  • Technological workforce development for the western part of the state,
  • Development and the application of new technologies to foster employment and economic growth within the region,
  • Curriculum development for higher education, business and industry,
  • Opportunities for articulation agreements for Western Carolina students wishing to enter graduate education programs in Engineering, Physics, Information Technology at UNC Charlotte,
  • Access to CIT faculty expertise and equipment for UNC Charlotte faculty and students,
  • A Technical Assistance Program (TAP) for linking faculty center technical expertise to jump-start businesses and industries into the integrating new technologies in the workplace,
  • Certificate programs at the undergraduate and graduate level to help employees of high technology companies remain current in their technical specialties.