The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association
April 2020
What will the changes be, if any, and what costs/tradeoffs will that entail? Can functional distancing (read below) become a viable alternative to physical distancing? What are the opportunities? Overall, where is the future of ECE headed?

In this issue of the Source, we boldly choose to open a Pandora’s Box of questions. Importantly, ECEDHA is proud to introduce an ECE Community Forums for members to hold spirited discussions on topics of their choosing.

Invitation to the Future! You are invited to discuss the future of ECE on the new ECE Community Forums. We have created a new topic, “Future of ECE”. Click here for instructions on how to access this forum, and click here for a YouTube tutorial that walks you through the basics. Just remember to log in first, using the button on the upper-left corner of the ECEDHA website.

ECE in the News
COVID - An Exercise in Turning on a Dime
By: Elisa H. Barney Smith, Boise State University

My biggest hobby before I moved to Idaho was folk dancing. I enjoyed traveling around the north-eastern US giving workshops and participating in dances and even dancing in Europe. My PhD advisor said that being a researcher was like being a dancer – you had to be able to turn on a dime. The COVID experience is certainly a time where I have had to turn on a dime.
Idaho is a mostly rural state and was one of the later states to be affected by COVID-19. We read about problems in China and how the quarantine decree was affecting their Chinese New Years celebration, then problems in South Korea, France and finally in the US in nearby Washington State. but the news was conflicting as to whether this was an emergency or just a new flu. Still Idaho was safe. Gradually the news reported more states were having confirmed cases. I read about my alma matter in New York converting to remote instruction and later sending students home. I received notice the ECEDHA Annual Conference and ECExpo I had been planning to attend was cancelled. My family was still planning to use our plane tickets and take a family vacation there for Spring Break which followed it. At that point plane tickets were not refundable. We’d visit Disney World and the Everglades. March 12 Disneyland announces it will close down the “happiest place on earth.” Things must be getting serious. I bet they’ll shut Disney World down eventually too.

ECE Community Forums: Join, Learn, and Share
By: Zhihua Qu, President, ECEDHA

During this challenging time, we are relying on each other more than ever to share knowledge and drive our institutions forward. Our ECE community is faced with many unique challenges due to COVID-19, whether rapidly transitioning to online education and virtual labs, or addressing departmental budget concerns.. New to ECEDHA, the ECE Community Forums, have been created to help members connect and share their experiences.

I encourage you to visit the ECE Community Forums today to view current discussions on the impacts, resources, and solutions for:

  • Department Budgets
  • Senior Design Projects
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Curriculum
  • Assessment and Evaluation Tools
  • Hands-on Learning/Virtual Labs

The ECEDHA team has created a video tutorial on how to access and participate in the forums, as well as a convenient step-by-step guide . If you have difficulty or questions regarding the forums, please feel free to reach out to Claire Seifert at

We look forward to seeing you on the forums. When we join together to share our solutions, we ensure the strongest community resource possible.

Brought to you by:
Announcing the New Chairs Virtual Workshop
By: John Papapolymerou, Michigan State University, and Art Lizotte, Keysight Technologies

Stepping into your new office, the one you just moved into over the weekend, you sit down and open your email to find a plethora of messages. You see several congratulatory messages, some from your faculty, two from the dean, and one from the provost. You immediately realize that you will need a new plan for how you tackle your inbox. Yet, before you get started, Sarah, whom you have known for years and now reports to you, comes into your office and asks for a moment of your time. (You think to yourself, maybe I need to keep my door closed if I don’t want to be interrupted.) Sarah informs you that she would like to communicate to the IAB that you have just started and you look forward to meeting everyone in the fall. (Again, you think to yourself, you don’t even know who’s on the IAB much less want to open yourself to yet another set of emails to reply to.) You let Sarah know that you will let her know by Friday how you would like to proceed. As she leaves, Bob, the somewhat problematic faculty member, walks in after her. Bob wants to chat about the upcoming faculty senate meeting. You ask if he would work with Sarah to setup a time on Wednesday. Bob rolls his eyes as he turns to leave and you get up to walk behind him to close the door.

Come prepared with your questions for John and Art as you probably have been faced with several challenging situations already. While there will be many topics discussed, answering your questions will be a priority, whether part of the group or offline if the details need to be handled more discreetly. Either way, you should walk away with nuggets of wisdom to use. 
Whether you have been in your roles for a short time already or maybe you haven’t started yet, you will benefit by the rich discussions and exercise that will take place during this 1.5 hour online workshop.  The virtual workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, May 19th at 1:00pm CT.
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Special Announcements
ECEDHA Election

We are pleased to announce the 2020-2021 candidates for Secretary of the ECEDHA Board of Directors. This is a rotating office with a five year commitment to ECEDHA. Please note: members will receive a ballot via email in the coming days.

The candidates are as follows:
Michael Devetsikiotis
ECE Department Chair
University of New Mexico
Magnus Egerstedt
ECE Dept. Chair and Professor
Georgia Institute of Technology

Corporate Features
ECE Insights
ECE Insights offer in-depth interviews with leading industry executives.

Hayne Shumate
Senior VP of Internet Business
Mouser Electronics