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Spring 2001

 

 

From the Department Head

The past year has been significant for the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. First, our 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 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 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 growing programs.

This year also marked the opening of the university's first major cleanroom 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 next phase of the MicrON (Virginia Tech Center for Microelectronics, Optoelectronics, and Nanotech-nology) program is the construction of a clean room in Hancock Hall.

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. His duties include off-campus programs, microelectronics, and information technology. ECE is heavily involved in these areas, so our close relationship with Leonard continues.

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.

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.

Our local popularity reflects the national trend, where electrical and computer engineering continue to lead the engineering disciplines in popularity. In 2000, the number of graduates in the top three engineering areas were: electrical/computer: 22,459; mechanical/aerospace: 14,263; civil/environmental: 9,447. While EE has been declining, CPE has grown dramatically nationwide. At Tech, CPE enrollments have tripled in the last five years. Another trend in ECE is that the most popular areas with the students are computers and communications. This is part of the Information Technology explosion.

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 Stutzman
Interim Department Head

The Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Virginia Tech


Last Updated, July 25, 2001
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