The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association                                                                               February  2019

Letter from the Editor
Badri Roysam,
University of Houston

Dear ECEDHA Members, Industry Partners, and Colleagues,

We are entering a "New Golden Age," and are on the verge of a "Cambrian Explosion" in computer architectures, in the words of Profs. John Hennessy (Stanford U.) and David Patterson (UC Berkeley). Interestingly, the topic of computing is inter-twined with the future of energy systems both big (e.g., data centers), and small (e.g., mobile and wearable systems). Especially interesting is the convergence of trends - next-generation energy systems and computing systems are both being shaped by a common set of considerations, especially energy efficiency, cyber security, and artificial intelligence (AI).
What do these developments mean for your ECE/EECS Department? We welcome your thoughts.

In this issue of the ECE Source, we are pleased to describe some of the emerging trends in computer engineering (below), and Texas A&M' ECE department's experience as it is working to reshape the manner in which students are educated in New Energy Systems. We are also delighted to spotlight the University of Arizona's ECE department, one of the hosts of the upcoming ECEDHA Annual Conference and ECExpo in lovely Tucson, AZ. On a personal note, I have visited Tucson over many decades as I collaborated with my neuroscience colleagues there. I have particularly enjoyed my visits to this city, its nearby destinations, and especially the food. Hope to see you there!

ECE in the News
Experience with New Energy Systems Course and Curriculum at TAMU

Miroslav Begovic,
Texas A&M University
Kate Davis,
Texas A&M University

Tom Overbye,
Texas A&M University

Aydin Karsilayan,
Texas A&M University
What do most people in the field consider to be core currculum topics for all electrical engineering students? While the answer may vary to an extent, this is a fundamental question to ask to begin the process of identifying and making the right curriculum decisions to benefit all students.

In Fall 2018 in Texas A&M's ECE department, we introduced a new fundamental electrical engineering course for the energyand power area. The history is interesting; the department previously had a course like this about 30 years ago. Over time, the department's energy and power are faculty gradually shifted toward more senior level courses, and the junior level course stopped being offered, as was the case at many US universities with solid power and energy research programs. The situation that prompted the change is that it was possible (and it often occurred) that students could graduate without knowing fundamentals of AC circuits, transformers, energy conversion, three-phase systems, or magnetic circuits. To address this, a new required course was developed and added to the course catalog, called ECEN 340: Electric Energy Conversion.

As we know, ABET focuses on outcomes, and it is largely up to the department to determine how to properly organize it courses and topics such that the outcomes are met for all of the department's students. Any curriculum changes require a careful self-assessment and reflection to ensure a net gain and to verify that there are no losses. Thus, the department conducted a Core Curriculum Review, after which it was decided to make a number of other changes concerning this course: (1) The curriculum was changed to add ECEN 340 as a mandatory course for electrical engineering students (7 mandatory courses, 6 electives chosen in a certain way to diversify the knowledge of the student while maintaining specialization in certain areas). (2) Adjustments are being made to prerequisites for senior level classes in the power area. (3) Power area courses will be modified to cut back on repeated material that was necessary before. Of course, topics will still be reviewed as necessary in the higher-level classes; the difference is that the students will have seen the topics before in a consistent way.

Finally, ECEN 340 was introduced into the Electrical Engineering (ELEN) curriculum to provide students fundamental material on power and energy systems. With this addition, students in ELEN major will be completing seven mandatory junior-level courses (previously six), followed by six ECEN elective courses (previously 7) covering a minimum of three areas among the seven groups in the department. Previously, students were expected to take three or four electives from one area (for depth), and take the remaining 3 or 4 electives from two or more areas (for breadth). With the addition of ECEN 340 into the curriculum, depth requirement remains the same, but the breadth will be achieved with 2 or 3 courses. Since the additional junior course will provide broader range of fundamentals, this change will be more effective providing the breadth, while preserving the depth in a chosen area. Thus, beginning in the Fall 2019 semester, ECEN 340 will be required for all electrical engineering students.
Featured Video
University of Wisconsin - Madison Makerspace Tour

Join Digi-Key Electronics for a private tour of the University of Wisconsin - Madison Makerspace from Lennon Rodgers, director of the Grainger Engineering Design Innovation Lab as he shares his vision of a makerspace for students, run by students.

Lennon worked with the students of UW to develop a space for them to collaborate ideas and develop creative projects.  This makerspace gives students access to equipment and tools that may be unaffordable and costly to maintain.  Students have the ability to explore, make, and learn using 3D printers, soldering stations, woodworking equipment and even an industrial laser cutter.  

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This handbook serves as a space for us to share insights and best practices from a global research community through showcases of novel research conducted using the NI platform.

ECEDHA Regional News
ECEDHA Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting Update

On December 1, Suresh Subramaniam of George Washington University hosted the Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting in Washington D.C.

Major discussions centered around challenges and opportunities in ECE education, funding, student retention, and senior capstone design presentations.  Attendees also enjoyed a keynote talk from Dr. Kuh at NSF.

MAECEDHA attendees gather in D.C.
Conference Corner
Register Today for the
2019 ECEDHA Annual Conference and ECExpo!

March 22-26, 2019 at the Hilton El Conquistador Tucson
in Tucson, Arizona

Register today and take advantage of the early bird rate!

The ECEDHA Annual Conference and ECE xpo is the largest gathering of ECE department heads from throughout the United States and Canada.

This year's program is hosted by Arizona State University, New Mexico State University, the University of Arizona, and the University of New Mexico. Join us March 22-26, 2019 at the  Hilton El Conquistador Tucson in Tucson, AZ.

The 2019 Pr ogram Committee has assembled a world-class educational program focusing on the most pressing issues facing academia and ECE today.  This year's program features:
  • A fantastic lineup of speakers from both academia and industry
  • Specialized pre-conference workshops, including a brand new ERC Workshop
  • Sessions focusing on the future of ECE - including Renewable Energy, AI, Cybersecurity, Multidisciplinary Design, Revolutionizing ECE Curricula, Robotics and Makerspaces
  • Ample networking time to connect with old friends and new acquaintances 
  • The ECExpo, with more than 40 industry leaders on hand to show the latest technologies in the field

Corporate Features
In This Issue
Calendar of Events
March 22, 2019
ABET Workshop
Presented at the ECEDHA Annual Conference
Hilton Tucson El Conquistador - Tucson, AZ
March 22, 2019
ERC Workshop
Presented at the ECEDHA Annual Conference
Hilton Tucson El Conquistador - Tucson, AZ
March 22-26, 2019
ECEDHA Annual Conference and ECE xpo
Hilton Tucson El Conquistador - Tucson, AZ
On Demand Webinar
In partnership with Tailfin Marketing
On Demand Webinar
Sponsored by Keysight Technologies
On Demand Webinar
A Case Study on Connected Maintenance Reliability
Sponsored by Fluke Corporation
On Demand Webinar
Rethinking Electronics Fundamentals
Sponsored by National Instruments

Special Announcements
Finalize Your 2018-2019 Membership Today!

Renew your membership today to continue receiving ECEDHA membership benefits, including:
  • The opportunity to participate in the ECEDHA Annual Survey, a valuable tool in benchmarking your organization in lab and office space, faculty and department head salaries, research budgets, student retention, graduation rates, and much more.
  • The opportunity to attend the 2019 ECEDHA Annual Conference and ECExpo
  • Complimentary job posting service via the ECEDHA website
  • Complimentary registration for ECEDHA's ECE Webinars
  • And much more!
Looking for your membership packet?

Pl ease contact Megan Bekolay at  or 312.559.3724
ECEDHA Member and Partner News
International Workshop on Thin-Films for Electronics, Electro-Optics, Energy and Sensors (TFE3S)

Present your research to the global thin-film research community at the 3 rd international workshop on TFE3S. You'll join fellow experts and researchers from our organizing/sponsor institutions and many other top scholars from around the world.  

The workshop is organized by the Center of Excellence for Thin-film Research and Surface Engineering (CETRASE), University of Dayton, in cooperation with the University of Iceland and The Pennsylvania State University.  

Location: University of Iceland, Reykjavik
Dates: June 24-26, 2019

>> Read more
Franklin Institute Awards: Call for Nominations in Neural Networks for Machine Learning

The Franklin Institute seeks nominations for the 2020 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science.

Individuals are encouraged to submit nominations for those who have made significant contributions to the development of neural networks for machine learning-hardware or software systems designed as networks of artificial neurons that can be given raw data and trained to automatically discover abstract features that are relevant to detection, classification, or translation, resulting in desired outputs.

Deadline: May 31, 2019
Prize: $250,000 USD

>> Learn more
National Renewable Energy Laboratory: ESIF Visiting Scholars User Call

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has recently announced its Visiting Scholars User Call.  The Visiting Scholars User Call allows faculty and students to conduct research in state-of-the-art laboratories in the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF). The ESIF contains a collection of interconnected laboratories that can accommodate megawatt-scale R&D at full power. By immersing visiting researchers into the ESIF ecosystem, the hope is that they will carry valuable insights and new capabilities back to their home institutions.

Applications for the ESIF Visiting Scholars User Call are accepted throughout the year. Meritorious applications will be granted on a rolling basis. More information and application requirements can be found at the link below.

>> Learn more

At the ECE Source, we strive to cover topics that are relevant and timely to ECE  department heads.  We welcome your comments, feedback, and suggestions of topics t o cover in our next issue.  Thank you.