The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association
October 2020
Featured Articles
Enlightened Self-Interest: Some Thoughts from an EE Senior in March 1968
By: Kenneth Connor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

With age comes perspective, sometimes wisdom and tested knowledge. Age also often forces us to live through things again. 2020 has made me think of two hugely important time periods in US history: 1918 thru 1920, because of the 1918 H1N1 Flu Pandemic and the 1960s, which was marked by political turmoil, assassinations, war and political division throughout the world.
I was an electrical engineering student at UW-Madison during the latter period (1964-1970, to be precise) and my father’s parents died in the former, barely 2 weeks after he was born. He, his brother and his sister were among the hundreds of thousands of children who were orphaned when 675,000 people were killed by the flu. Growing up the way he did made my father exceptionally self-reliant and hard-working, traits which he largely succeeded in passing on to me, which, in turn, have made me a better engineer. Over the last several months, I have thought often about what I owe him, but even more about what it was like to be an EE student in the 60s. I would like to share one of the ideas that became clear to me then that remains significant today.

Departmental Leadership in Supporting Anti-Racist Language in Technical Literature
By: Clem Karl, Boston University

It happened in a most unexpected way. Like most campuses, ours was charged following the death of George Floyd and has been engaged in active anti-racist reflection and discussion since the summer. BU created a new Center for Antiracist Research and its director Ibram Kendi had led a day long period of reflection. We were all thinking about what role to play in reducing racism, increasing institutional diversity and supporting our under-represented minorities. In the midst of these developments one of our computer engineering students approached our department with a complaint about the textbook used for his logic design class. In particular, he was upset at the “master/slave” language used around flip-flops in the textbook. I raised the issue with our Departmental leadership group and reactions ranged from “of course it’s bad” to “well sure the words are there, but they don’t mean anything”, they are just technical terminology used for years and devoid of connection to race.

The Future is How We're Communicating
By: Charles Hall, North Carolina State University

As news rapidly unfolded with the arrival of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in North America that which, for many, was just a never-ending series of news articles suddenly became a looming reality. Faculty across the universities started weighing their teaching curricula and wracking their minds on how they’d translate their classrooms to the cloud, and what the effect would be if that too became a necessary reality for the rest of the semester—or longer.
Yet, at the same time, the role of communicators within ECE departments suddenly encompassed new challenges, new opportunities, and an array of questions. With so many communicators within ECE departments operating as one or two-person bands, monthly discussions amongst the ECEDHA Communicators Group tracked the shifting tides of their vital roles. What started as exasperation—and shared uncertainty of the breadth and immediate effects of the new reality—gradually morphed into a necessity of idea-sharing, successes and failures, and a source for community among a group whose unique roles in their department were taking on new meanings.

Sponsored Article: Mouser Debuts Technical Resource Center, a Searchable Collection of Tech Content and Product Information
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Mouser’s newly refreshed Technical Resource Center enables the engineering community to more quickly and easily find technical and product information across all of Mouser.com. The front page of the Technical Resource Center includes links to Applications & Technologies sites and Mouser’s Bench Talk blog, as well as featured articles, videos and eBooks. The page also includes a link to Mouser’s Conversion Calculators — practical tools to help engineers of all skill levels speed their processes.

A Conversation with Our Board Members
We sat down with Magnus and Hayne to tap into their mindset on career paths, the future of ECE, and life in general. Here is what they shared...
Magnus Egerstedt
Steve W. Chaddick School Chair, Georgia Institute of Technology
Secretary, ECEDHA Board of Directors
Q. You became the Steve W. Chaddick School Chair in the School of ECE in August 2018. How have your first two years in this role been?

A. Challenging, fun, humbling, and not entirely what I expected. Being school chair in ECE at Georgia Tech is a remarkably meaningful job, where it is possible to have impact at scale. Our rather unique combination of size (over 110 faculty members) and quality (all programs are highly ranked) do create some special challenges and opportunities. ...

Q. You recently joined the ECEDHA Board of Directors as secretary. Why did you want to take on this role?
 
A. As a school chair you make tons of decisions every day – some small and some large. And, without help, you very quickly drown in the day-to-day activities and lose track of the big, forward-looking questions. I quickly found that ECEDHA was a place with lots of smart and generous people who I could reach out to for support and who also called on me to get my take on things. ...

Hayne Shumate
Senior VP of Internet Business, Mouser Electronics
Corporate Advisory Council Member, ECEDHA
Q. Was there a defining moment in your life that made you choose ECE as a profession?

A. I became and electronics hobbyist in high school. I loved listening to music, and I had friends who had inherited hi-fi gear from their dads. I subscribed to Audio Advisor and Speaker Builder magazines and began building amps and speakers. I guess it all started listening to the Dark Side of the Moon on Herman’s dad’s custom 10-foot-tall speakers.

Q. What is your corporation doing to ease the pain for universities during online learning?

A. We have seen a lot of institutional purchasing transition to home delivery during everyone’s work-from-home regimen. This has been true corporately as well as in education. Supporting unit quantities and low-cost shipping allows professors and students to get components directly, quickly and safely.

ECEDHA Member and Partner News
Lab Pros Network - September 30th Meeting Recap:
"Running Labs in a Pandemic - Early Lessons Learned"
Chaired by Sid Deliwala, University of Pennsylvania

A series of videos were selected as part of the ECE Lab Pros Network call on “Running Labs in a Pandemic – Early Lessons Learned, where members of academia and industry were asked to share insights on their biggest challenges and significant accomplishments in the current virtual learning environment.

Funding and Review Opportunities at NSF
An Announcement from the NSF National AI Research Institute Program Team
 
Dear colleagues:
 
We’re writing to ask you to consider volunteering for the interdisciplinary panels that will review proposals submitted to NSF’s upcoming National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes competition (for more details, please see the program information page, which has links to the solicitationFAQ, and more). We are planning to review proposals in interdisciplinary panels that will meet between February-March. Because we will be on a very tight schedule to meet NSF deadlines, we want to identify possible panelists as soon as possible. If you are interested, please complete this short survey. Note that you may still serve as a panelist even if you are submitting a proposal to the competition. We will be organizing the panels in different themes to minimize potential conflicts of interest. Please feel free to forward this survey to your colleagues who might be interested. 
 
If you have questions or concerns, please email us at: [email protected]
 
Announcing Project RECET

Project RECET (Remote ECE Teaching) has been launched to facilitate sharing of materials, resources and best practices for online instruction among ECE educators, with an initial focus on introductory analog and digital circuits.

Online and online-compatible techniques for teaching electrical and computer engineering at the undergraduate and continuing education levels have been developed and researched for years, but they are still not widely-deployed across ECE departments in the US. This past spring, the COVID-19 pandemic forced virtually every ECE program in the US to move to online instruction within a short period of time. In many departments, the implementations were improvised by necessity. Given continuing uncertainty about the duration of the pandemic, most universities are continuing some level of remote activity during the fall 2020 semester, and perhaps beyond. 

With this in mind, Project RECET was initiated by a group of educators from University of New Mexico, North Carolina State University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Analog Devices, Inclusive Engineering Consortium and ECE Department Heads Association. We seek to broaden the group and assemble as extensive a collection of materials as possible.

We invite you to review the materials currently posted on the Project RECET website and consider using them in the classes you and your colleagues teach. If you do, we would like to follow up with you to assess your experience. We also welcome contributions of materials developed at your institution. To facilitate broad adoption, materials should have a minimum of corporate or institutional branding. However, during this early stage of the project, all materials will be considered.

Association Announcements
Renew Your 2020-2021 ECEDHA Academic Membership

Renew your membership today to continue receiving ECEDHA member benefits, including:

  • The opportunity to participate in the ECEDHA Annual Survey, a valuable tool in benchmarking data.
  • The opportunity to attend the 2020 ECEDHA Summit Series, a virtual program
  • Complimentary job posting service via the ECEDHA website
  • And much more!

Looking for your membership packet? Please contact Claire Seifert at [email protected]
Now Accepting Nominations for the 2020 ECEDHA Awards

ECEDHA is now accepting nominations for its 2020 Awards. Nominations are due by Friday, November 20, 2020.

Outstanding Leadership and Service Award

Innovative Program Award

Diversity Award

Industry Award

CHECE Canadian Leadership and Service Award

ECE Technology Integration Award
Corporate Features
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A Little Engineering Humor

Q: Why do programmers frequently confuse Halloween and Christmas?

A: Because OCT 31 = DEC 25