This issue marks the first anniversary of the monthly electronic newsletter from the Optics and Photonics College Network. Through the OPEN newsletter, faculty and administrators in colleges teaching photonics, as well as other technologies, have received briefings from colleges and centers of useful events, strategies, resources, emerging photonics applications, grant opportunities and exemplary photonics students. The documentation of these “best practices” is also valuable to assure the sustainability of the progress that has been made to improve and expand technician education provided by NSF through the awards of Centers and project grants.
This year OP-TEC will continue to document best practices of centers and colleges through the development and dissemination of monographs. Three examples of recently development monographs are described on this month’s OPEN. I urge you to obtain and study these useful documents.
The articles that follow describe the emergence of Free Space Optical communications, a new recruitment brochure from LASER-TEC, a MPEC-hosted networking meeting at Photonics West, a February webinar on student recruitment and opportunities for faculty training.
I am personally grateful that LASER-TEC and NSF are providing the assistance to the Puerto Rico Photonics Institute to help Jonathon Friedman and his colleagues regain and maintain the outstanding photonics technician program following the disaster of hurricane Maria.