As the new Chair of ECE, effective last fall, one of my goals is to keep our students, our alumni and our faculty and staff better informed on what is going on in our department. We have a lot of interesting and exciting developments to report on, including our ongoing research from our faculty and students, which led SSoE in funding in 2020 (28% of the $10.5M total) as well as our 3 core research centers in: Imaging (CVIP), Robotics (LARRI) and Semiconductors (MNTC). These centers will be reported on separately below. It’s been a challenging year for us all in dealing with the change to virtual classrooms and labs due to Covid. This will all be behind us starting this fall semester, when things will finally return to normal.
One of the few silver linings from COVID that I would like to leverage for the future of ECE is virtual learning. All of our faculty are now familiar with the virtual classroom from using Blackboard or MS Teams during COVID out of necessity. I plan to use this newly acquired faculty skill set to develop an online only MSEE program with the goal of helping to increase our enrollment by targeting students that have full-time jobs or are located outside the Louisville area. We will also use this new faculty skill set to help drive enrollment through the development of a joint program we are actively working to put in place with Al Alamein International University in Egypt. I hope to report more information on this exciting new development in the next ECE newsletter.
Unfortunately, our undergraduate enrollment has been steadily falling since 2017, while enrollment in our M.Eng, MS and PhD graduate programs has increased. Our undergraduate enrollment was down 14% (-38 students) between fall 2019 and fall 2020, while our graduate enrollment was up 15% (+13 students). SSoE undergraduate enrollment was flat and SSoE graduate enrollment was up 15% between fall 2019 and fall 2020. Improving our enrollment and retention numbers will be one of my main priorities going forward. Please feel free to send me your ideas for making ECE better as well as any updates or newsworthy items we can use for our next newsletter. I look forward to hearing from you.
ECE Professor and Department Chair