Bay Named Outstanding Teacher
John Bay, an expert in robotics and controls, won the Eta Kappa Nu national C. Holmes MacDonald Outstanding Teacher Award for 1997. The national electrical engineering honor society selects one outstanding electrical engineering teacher each year from nominations from around the country.
The award cites Bay's open-door policy, accessibility to students and "a talent for communications and making meaningful the abstract and complex."
Bay joined the Tech faculty in 1989 after earning his Ph.D. from Ohio State. He has been responsible for developing the Department's robotics curriculum and teaching laboratory. He has taught classes at all levels with consistently high student ratings. He has also served as faculty advisor for a variety of student projects ranging from the interdisciplinary autonomous vehicle project to teams of students designing "army ant" robots.
Saifur Rahman Named Director of ARI
Saifur Rahman has been named director of Tech's new Alexandria Research Institute and of the electrical and computer engineering programs in Northern Virginia.
An expert in international energy and environmental issues, he has been serving for the past two years as program director for the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Energy Processing Systems Program. At NSF, Rahman was guiding the development of multimedia-based power engineering educational materials as a part of the Innovations in Power Engineering Education Program. He has also been working to establish research links between faculty researchers in South Africa, Japan and the United States.
Rahman joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1979 and has been responsible for development of much of the alternative energy curriculum and research facilities. He is also director of the Center for Energy and the Global Environment (CEAGE) and is involved in three major international energy projects. In Malaysia, he is developing models for evaluating energy efficiency programs and their impact on greenhouse gas emissions. For Tokyo Electric Power Company in Japan, he is researching methods of quantifying the cost of electrical service in a deregulated environment. He is also working with researchers from several U.S. and Japanese universities and electric utility companies to study the concept of intelligent distributed autonomous power systems.
Wayne Scales Promoted, Tenured
Wayne Scales has been tenured and promoted to associate professor. An expert in radio physics and upper atmospheric science, Scales' research involves the study of nonlinear processes produced by scattering of high power radio waves from the upper atmosphere as well as investigations of the electrodynamics and plasma physics of natural and artificial charged dust clouds produced in the upper atmosphere.
He was the recipient of the 1997-1998 Mary Upson Visiting Professorship at Cornell University in which he was involved with Global Positioning System (GPS) applications to upper atmospheric science.
He joined the Department in 1992 after serving three years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory. He earned a B.S.E.E. and M.S.E.E. at Tech and a Ph.D. with a minor in Applied Physics from Cornell University.
James F. Phelan, who taught engineering at Tech for 23 years, died this past April. He was born in Sedalia, Missouri in 1917 and graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy. He served during World War II and the Korean War, and retired from the Navy in 1960. At that time, he joined the engineering faculty and taught until he retired in 1983.
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