From the Department Head
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The past year has been significant
for the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
in many ways. It marks a major milestone in our Bradley Fellowship
and Scholarship program. Ten years ago, we started sending our
Bradley Scholar and Bradley Fellow graduates into the world.
In 1991, Phil Danner and Anne Palmore Stublen received BSEE degrees
and started their careers at GE Fanuc and DuPont respectively.
Brad Duncan earned a Ph.D. and took a faculty position at the
University of Dayton. Dwayne Hawbaker, Steven Schultz, David
Tarnoff and Greg Zvonar earned master's degrees and moved on
to the Applied Physics Lab, Hughes Aircraft, Litton Poly-Scientific
Since that time, the department has supported 77 undergraduate
students on the Bradley Scholarship and 60 graduate students
on the Fellowship. In this annual Bradley Report, we celebrate
this first decade of graduates from the Bradley program, with
features on students who have been graduated 10 years, and five
years, and students who are still in the program. Their stories
illustrate how the Bradley Endowment has enabled us to select
top students and give them the freedom to develop their unique
There have been other changes in the ECE Department as well,
including a new name. We are now officially referred to as the
"ECE" Department, and future courses will be labeled
ECE instead of ECPE. A survey we conducted showed that out of
57 departments called electrical and computer engineering, all
but one use the ECE designation.
A major note of progress this year has been the addition of 17,000
square feet of space for ECE. Torgersen Hall, the impressive
new building that is connected to the library with a bridge,
is now home to several ECE faculty members, mainly in the area
of computer engineering. Also, the Photonics Laboratory moved
from Whittemore Hall to rental space just off campus in the new
Collegiate Square shopping center on Prices Fork Road. These
expansions in space have provided considerable relief to our
This year also marked the opening of the university's first major
clean room facility. Now operational on the sixth floor of Whittemore
Hall is a 1,800-sq.-ft., Class 1000 clean room that will be used
as a teaching laboratory for early undergraduate science and
engineering majors. The room will be used to fabricate p-n junctions,
resistors, and field effect transistors on 4-inch Si wafers at
approximately 100-micron design rules.
The next phase of the MicrON (Virginia Tech Center for Microelectronics,
Optoelectronics, and Nanotechnology) program is the construction
of a clean room in Hancock Hall to support research in microelectronics.
This major initiative is being led by Bob Hendricks. For the
last couple of years, Hendricks has worked tirelessly to make
our microelectronics program a reality. He is to be commended
for working across departments and colleges to gain consensus
on the vision and structure of Virginia Tech's program. His dedication
to undergraduate education and attention to detail enabled us
to build and operate a world-class undergraduate clean room and
establish an exciting new curriculum.
Change is also occurring in the leadership in ECE. After serving
as department head for five years, Leonard Ferrari was appointed
vice provost for special initiatives. Leonard's duties include
off-campus programs, microelectronics, and information technology.
ECE is heavily involved in these areas, so our close relationship
with Leonard continues.
During Leonard Ferrari's tenure as head, the department experienced
major expansion in research funding, growing from $6 million
to $20 million in annual research expenditures. These funds are
vital to ECE. They are used to support students performing research.
In addition, overhead money is returned to the department that
is shared with principal investigators, permitting them to expand
The number of graduates is the university's most important productivity
measure. The ECE department produces a significant fraction of
Virginia Tech's graduates. We are responsible for 5 percent of
the undergraduate and 10 percent of graduate degrees in the university.
In the College of Engineering, ECE produces 28 percent of the
undergraduate degrees, 34 percent of MS degrees, and 31 percent
of the college's Ph.D. degrees.
The strength of our department is becoming widely recognized
due to both its quality and productivity. ECE has one National
Academy of Engineering member (Arun Phadke), 15 IEEE Fellows,
and four Fellows of other major societies. The quality of our
student body also continues to rise. ECE is currently supporting
31 Bradley Scholars and 21 Bradley Fellows. One Bradley Scholar
who deserves to be highlighted this year is Sarah Airey. Sarah
spent last summer with villagers in Ghana showing them how to
use computers and learning how the people live. She was named
one of the top 20 students in the nation by USA Today. Sarah
is leaving us to pursue graduate work in computer engineering
at the University of Edinburgh on a prestigious Marshall Scholarship.
I became the interim department head in October and it has been
my pleasure to help the department during this period of transition.
It is certainly easy to lead a department of this quality.
Warren L. Stutzman
Interim Department Head