|In this academic year, ECE has seen several changes. Bob Trew has left as department head to head the ECE department at North Carolina State University, where he was previously on the faculty. We wish him the best in his new position and appreciate his service while at Virginia Tech.
I am probably a familiar face to most of you for two reasons: I have been in the ECE department for more than 33 years and I was the interim head in 2000/2001. I have been the associate head in a part-time capacity, assisting Bob. I am in the unusual position of being both retired and department head. This new assignment, of course, changes my plans to slow down. It was, however, logical for me to return to the helm in order to provide continuity of leadership in ECE. The advantage to ECE is that the transition and adjustment period for all concerned should be minimal.
My period as interim head will last at least until the new dean is in place and we emerge from the period of budget uncertainty. I intend to leave the associate department head position open for now to realize a cost savings.
Other changes to our department are budget related. Statewide funding reductions to Techs instructional budget necessitated a retirement incentive program that has seven ECE faculty members retiring [see the budget article]. We are now busy recruiting faculty (mostly at the junior level) to fill the losses of the experienced senior faculty.
Finally, there will be change in the deans office too. Hassan Aref, professor and head of the Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will assume the deanship of Techs College of Engineering on April 1. Aref has much experience in both public and private institutions and we look forward to his leadership.
Although support from the state to Virginia Tech and higher education has eroded recently, our department remains very strong. Our research and scholarship output is very high and is growing even during this difficult economic period. Also, our academic programs are very strong and are in great demand. This is a tribute to ECEs excellent faculty and staff.
I look forward to helping the department build on its past successes.
Interim Department Head