IEEE Award Recipients Expanded Engineering Curricula

These three Fellows designed academic programs that let students explore different fields

16 March 2016

Innovation often begins in the classroom. This year IEEE is honoring three educators who helped their students go on to contribute to robotics, electromagnetics, signal processing, and other fields. They are being recognized this year with IEEE Technical Field Awards. The annual awards are presented for contributions or leadership in IEEE fields of interest.

IEEE Fellow Terri Fiez, vice chancellor for research at the University of Colorado, Boulder, will receive this year’s IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Award. She is being recognized “for innovative undergraduate engineering and computing curriculum development fostering student engagement and retention.”

During Fiez’s time as head of the engineering and computer science department at Oregon State University, in Corvallis, she implemented TekBots, a hands-on program in which freshman engineering students begin building their own robot, which they continue to customize until they graduate. She also helped launch the school’s first online postbaccalaureate program, with classes designed to help prepare students who received bachelor’s degrees in nontechnical disciplines to earn master’s degrees in computer science.

Life Fellow Giorgio Franceschetti, professor emeritus of electrical engineering at the University of Naples Federico II, in Italy, will receive the IEEE Electromagnetics Award. He’s being cited for “leadership in the academic world, teaching, research, and scientific activities in advanced electromagnetics.”

In 1965 Franceschetti introduced the study of electromagnetic fields and waves to students at the University of Naples Federico II. Several other Italian universities have adopted the curriculum he developed.

He pioneered aperture radar technologies for satellites that have been used to monitor Earth’s surface. He also made contributions to pulsed antennas, wave propagation, and electromagnetic imaging.

Fellow K.J. Ray Liu, professor of information technology at the University of Maryland, in College Park, will receive this year’s IEEE Leon K. Kirchmayer Graduate Teaching Award. Liu is being honored for “exemplary teaching and curriculum development, inspirational mentoring of graduate students, and broad educational impact in signal processing and communications.”

He founded the university’s signal processing program in the early 1990s and revamped its master’s degree program in telecommunications. He has mentored hundreds of graduate students, who have gone on to become leaders in academia and industry. He and his students have made contributions to the field of signal processing, such as developing digital signal-processing techniques to extract information from DNA and identify changes that occur as cancer develops. He co-edited the widely used Handbook on Array Processing and Sensor Networks (IEEE-Wiley Press, 2009).

Read about the rest of the innovators who are receiving IEEE’s top awards this year.

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