|As the job market continues to sputter and power sometimes flickers, we have good news regarding ECE at Virginia Tech.
ECE has been recognized as one of Virginia Techs exemplary departments this year. Alex Huang has been recognized for one of the worlds top 100 research developments of the past year. Our students and faculty are at the forefront of technology that will help keep our power supplies stable (see R&D 100 Award). Our wireless research program continues to break new ground in the field with leading-edge developments in new techniques (see UWB).
The department continues to expand its activities in the areas of biomedical engineering. A new graduate option is available starting this fall and growing numbers of research projects involve the blending of ECE and biomedical issues. This is especially timely due to the formal approval of the joint VT-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering (http://www.sbes.vt.edu/). ECE faculty are developing close ties with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, which is nearing completion of its new on-campus building (www.vbi.vt.edu). Three ECE faculty members Peter Athanas, Amy Bell, and Mark Jones have been named VBI Fellows and will spend a significant portion of their time over the next two years collaborating with VBI researchers pursuing new opportunities in bioinformatics research.
ECE research continues to expand in many areas in spite of a slowed technology environment and reduced state support to the university and the department. A measure of our funded research success is the value of new research projects initiated in 2002-2003. ECE has $16.8 million of the $51.2 million for the entire engineering college, or one-third of the colleges new research funding. This represents a 17 percent increase over the prior year, by far the greatest increase of the colleges departments. The National Science Foundation has ranked us 11th in research expenditures for ECE departments nationwide.
We welcome closer interaction with the Computer Science Department, which recently joined the engineering college and look forward to finding a department head that will help guide our future programs.
We welcome five new faculty members: Joe Wang, who is our 6th faculty member in Northern Virginia and a specialist in bioengineering and information technology; Cameron Patterson, a specialist in computer architecture, Jung Min Park, a specialist in computer security, Steven Ellingson, a specialist in RF and communications, and Allen MacKenzie, a specialist in communications.
Although ECE is gaining prestige nationally for our research and is ranked in the top 20 for undergraduate programs nationwide, we face many challenges as we cope with severely restricted funds for our teaching mission due to the state budget cuts. We hope that our students will bring to our attention any problems they encounter in pursuing their degrees.
We are fortunate to have involved alumni, particularly our ECE Advisory Board, to help us meet our challenges. Board membership has expanded to 17 members. The Board is closely involved with department activities and is a critical link in ECEs outreach efforts.
I welcome advice and support from all alumni, and hope you will contact me with any suggestions or concerns you may have.