Distinguished ECE Chairs Seminar: Challenges and Opportunities in Revolutionizing Engineering Departments: An ECE Perspective

Date(s) - 9 Dec 2019
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

3043 ECpE Building Addition

Speakers: Tony Maciejewski, Professor and Department Head of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Colorado State University; Luke Lester, Roanoke Electric Steel Professor and Department Head of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech; Tim Wilson, Professor and Department Chair of Electrical, Computer, Software & Systems Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Title: Challenges and Opportunities in Revolutionizing Engineering Departments: An ECE Perspective

Abstract: Four electrical and computer engineering (ECE) departments have received grants from the National Science Foundation Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments (RED) program since 2015: Colorado State University (2015), Iowa State University (2016), Virginia Tech (2016), and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (2019). Each grant is a five-year award with a goal of departmental change and innovation to overcome longstanding issues in undergraduate education and to create more inclusive environments. The focus of RED is on transforming departmental structures and practices and supporting faculty development to improve the middle years experience and the professional formation of engineering students. The ECE department heads/chairs from Colorado State Univ., Virginia Tech, and Embry-Riddle and are visiting Ames for a mini workshop on the ECE RED programs. In this distinguished chairs’ seminar, the visiting Department Chairs will make a short presentation on their respective RED projects and provide a view on how their respective projects shaping or expected to shape the departments. The RED project at CSU has been taking a holistic approach to weave threads on creativity, foundations and professionalism throughout the curriculum and incorporate knowledge integration activities. At Virginia Tech, there is a new overall program structure designed around base courses and concepts that help students choose subsequent courses that better prepare them for a broader range of careers. The ISU ECE RED project has been developing a collaborative course design model called an x-team that helps instructors engage with research-based pedagogy, design thinking, and student identity and professional development. ERAU is implementing agile methods across the department to change the way faculty and students work, and students will use Scrum in projects throughout the middle two years.


Tony Maciejewski

Anthony A. Maciejewski was born in Cleveland, Ohio on July 19, 1960. He received the B.S.E.E (summa cum laude), M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1982, 1984, and 1987, respectively, all from The Ohio State University under the support of a National Science Foundation (NSF) graduate fellowship. From October of 1985 to September of 1986 he was an American Electronics Association Japan Research Fellow at the Hitachi Central Research Laboratory in Tokyo, Japan where he performed work on the development of parallel processing algorithms for computer graphic imaging and simulation. In 1988, Prof. Maciejewski joined the faculty of Purdue University as an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1993 and Full Professor in 1998. In August of 2001 he joined Colorado State University where he is currently a Professor and Head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). In 2018-2019 he served as President of the ECE Department Head’s Association. His research and teaching interests center on the analysis, simulation, and control of kinematically redundant robotic systems. His current work focuses on how kinematic redundancy can be utilized to design failure tolerant robotic systems for remote operations. He has over 300 publications, directs a research laboratory and has developed graduate courses in these areas. His commitment to education resulted in his receiving four undergraduate teaching awards. His research has been supported by NSF, Sandia Nat’l Lab, Oak Ridge Nat’l Lab, DARPA, NASA, Nat’l Imagery and Mapping Agency, Missile Defense Agency, Non-lethal Technology Innovation Center, the NEC Corporation, Caterpillar, AT&T, H-P, Intel, Chrysler, Wolf Robotics, and the TRW Foundation. Prof. Maciejewski is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) “for contributions to the design and control of kinematically redundant robots,” and has received the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Distinguished Service Award for contributions to the society as VP for Financial Activities and AdCom member as well as other roles. He has served on the editorial boards of nine different journals and as Editor in Chief of the Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) Conference Paper Review Board. He also was Program Chair for the 2002 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) and has served on over 100 other conference program committees. He is also a member of the Association for Computing Machinery.

Luke Lester

Luke F. Lester, IEEE and SPIE Fellow, received the B.S. in Engineering Physics in 1984 and the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1992, both from Cornell University. He is a Professor and Head of the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Virginia Tech. Prior to joining VT, he was a professor of ECE at the University of New Mexico (UNM) from 1994 to 2013, and most recently the Interim Department Chair and the Endowed Chair Professor in Microelectronics there. Before 1994, Dr. Lester worked as an engineer for the General Electric (Martin Marietta) Electronics Laboratory in Syracuse, New York for 6 years where he worked on transistors for mm-wave applications. There in 1986 he co-invented the first Pseudomorphic HEMT, a device that was later highlighted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest transistor. By 1991 as a PhD student in Prof. Lester Eastman’s group at Cornell, he researched and developed the first strained quantum well lasers with mm-wave bandwidths. These lasers are now the industry standard for optical transmitters in data and telecommunications. In all, Dr. Lester has 28 years experience in III-V semiconductor devices and advanced fabrication techniques. In 2001, he was a co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Zia Laser, Inc., a startup company using quantum dot laser technology to develop products for communications and computer/microprocessor applications. The company was later acquired by Innolume, GmbH. He is an active organizer and participant in the IEEE Photonics Society’s conferences, workshops and journals. He was a US Air Force Summer Faculty Fellow in 2006 and 2007. Dr. Lester’s other awards and honors include: a 1986 IEE Electronics Letters Premium Award for the first transistor amplifier at 94 GHz; the 1994 Martin Marietta Manager’s Award; the Best Paper Award at SPIE’s Photonics West 2000 for reporting a quantum dot laser with the lowest semiconductor laser threshold; and the 2012 Harold E. Edgerton Award of the SPIE for his pioneering work on ultrafast quantum dot mode-locked lasers. He has published at least 125 journal articles and over 240 conference papers.

Timothy Wilson

Timothy Wilson joined Embry-Riddle in 2000, following a stint at the University of Memphis. He received his degrees from MIT in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, where his research focused on modeling the hydrodynamics and signal processing of the mammalian auditory system. At ERAU, his research has concerned the technologies and legalities of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. He, colleagues, and students have conducted a number of surveys of unmanned aircraft technologies in collaboration with researchers at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Those surveys have led to a number of regulatory gap analyses that identify likely regulatory issues raised by the introduction of unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System. More recently he has worked with colleagues from the Engineering Fundamentals department on issues regarding adoption of evidence-based instructional practices in engineering education.

ECpE Seminar Host: Ashfaq Khokhar

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