Dean's Newsletter September 2016
MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN
Welcome back to the academic year. I’m very excited to update you on the progress we are making in the college, the activities we have planned and how we will continue to provide our students one of the best engineering educations in the nation. Just this past week I had the pleasure of meeting with friends and alumni at Boeing’s Air Space Museum in Seattle to talk about the state of the college, report some of our recent accomplishments and layout the course for our future direction. I thought this would be a great opportunity to recap some of the highlights of that discussion.
First, I am happy to introduce the 2016-17 cohort of faculty. We welcome thirteen new faculty this year with additions to almost all of our departments in Moscow. Our Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science in particular are experiencing an uptick in new talent. In ECE we are happy to have Vishal Saxena join the college as our new Micron Endowed Professor in Microelectronics along with three additional assistant professors, Yacine Chakhchoukh, Zouheir Rezki and Sameh Sorour. Each respectively have expertise in power systems cybersecurity, security of data networks, energy-efficient communication and the internet of things and its applications. We also welcome three new computer science faculty Marshall Ma, Jia Song and Michael Wilder who strengthen our capabilities in data analytics and visualization, high assurance computing systems and cybersecurity. I am confident our new faculty will carry on our tradition of providing students with strong fundamentals, hands-on learning, and exceptional design and research opportunities.
As our new faculty may indicate cybersecurity in its many forms has become a priority. Our Cybercorps®: Scholarship for Service program, which was recently renewed by the National Science Foundation, and is provided through the college’s Center for Secure and Dependable Systems (CSDS) has been a key component of our computer science education. Two of our CSDS faculty Jim Alves-Foss and Jia Song recently participated as finalists in the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Cyber Grand Challenge, the world’s first all-machine hacking tournament. Alves-Foss and Song placed sixth in what began with over 100 teams of some of the world’s top security researchers and hackers.
But as industry and national security interests demands increases, the college is making many new in-roads to strengthen our capabilities to become not only Idaho’s but the region’s leader in cybersecurity education, research and development. We just received a $2.1 million Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) grant to help develop new methods of protecting the cyber systems that control critical infrastructure, everything from manufacturing to medical industries that rely heavily on control systems in their facilities. The north Idaho fiber optics company Fatbeam also recently donated $3.2 million in dedicated internet access and infrastructure to support our new Cybersecurity Training and Operations Center (CTOC) at the U of I Research Park in Post Falls. CTOC offers cybersecurity workshops and training for working professionals and regional businesses.
This all ties into a concerted effort we are making to grow computer science education in northern Idaho. As you may have heard the college secured funding from the Idaho Legislature and the Governor’s Office to begin a third year of computer science at the U of I Coeur d’Alene Center. This spring we have another funding priority in front of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee to approve a complete 4-year computer science B.S. degree program in Coeur d’Alene to be up and running as early as spring of 2018. I have been busy this summer meeting with industry leaders in North Idaho to discuss how the program can serve their needs and provide students valuable workforce experience in turn. I will have much to report on these efforts in the near future.
One final update I want to provide regarding our progress to educate the next generation of engineering leaders has to do with our Grand Challenge Scholars program. If you recall the National Academy of Engineering has identified fourteen grand challenges for engineering. As a college we have committed to establish a special academic program designed to prepare students to solve the grand challenges, which range from improving national and international health, security, sustainability and quality of life in the 21st century. Our program will kick-off this October in conjunction with the induction of the class of 2016 Academy of Engineers. This will be an exciting event where young and old engineers alike will work together to address some of our most complex problems. As always if you have news or information that you would like to share, let me know.
Larry A. Stauffer
Dean, College of Engineering
Vandal Giving Day is 9.13.16 — #VandalsGive is a 36-hour online giving challenge in support of Idaho students. Vandal Giving Day will provide necessary funding for our engineering student scholarships, competition teams and engineering clubs and organizations. Please consider giving what you can on Vandal Giving Day to help shape the future for our students and great university.
The College of Engineering welcomes thirteen new faculty to Moscow and U of I Engineering in Boise for the 2016-17 academic year. Several new faculty in Moscow will support the college's focus in cyber physical control systems and cybersecurity in general. All new faculty will carry on our tradition of providing our students with strong academic fundamentals, hands-on learning experience and exceptional design and research opportunities.
Registration is now open for the College of Engineering's Women in Engineering Day. The free one-day workshop Oct. 28, 2016 is for female high school students, grades 11-12. This event provides the opportunity for prospective U of I students to explore future opportunities in engineering and computer science through hands-on activities and exposure to current U of I students, faculty and engineering professionals. If you know a student who is interested or might be interested please share.
U of I Engineering researchers Larry Stauffer, Frederick (Rick) Sheldon, Brian Johnson, Michael Haney and Daniel Conte de Leon have received $2.1 million to help develop new methods of protecting the cyber systems that control Idaho and the nation’s critical infrastructure, everything from manufacturing to medical industries that rely heavily on control systems in their facilities. This grant comes from the Idaho State Board of Education, Higher Education Research Council’s Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM).
The college understands computer science education is important for satisfying workforce needs, student demand and growing the economy in northern Idaho and the region. It has been a longtime U of I goal to provide an accredited 4-year B.S. computer science degree program at the U of I Coeur d’Alene Center. This fall we are moving closer to that goal by offering a 3rd year of computer science education to two-year associate degree students. The university will present a funding priority to the State Legislature Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee this spring with the hope to have a 4-year program up and running as early as spring of 2018.
Congratulations to civil engineering professor Erik Coats and his U of I Engineering co-authors! They have been selected to receive the 2016 Eddy Wastewater Principles/Processes Medal by the Water Environment Federation, a technical and educational organization representing water quality professionals and associations from around the world. The award is based on work Coats and his team conducted to develop solutions to remove phosphorus from wastewater.
The 2016 Class of the U of I Academy of Engineers will be inducted Oct. 20, 2016. The academy salutes engineering leaders for their lifetime commitment to engineering achievement, leadership, engineering education and service to the profession and society. This year's Academy will be held in conjunction with the kick-off event for the college's Grand Challenge Scholars program. Students will be able to present ideas for projects addressing one of the NAE's 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering receive feedback from the Academy and potential mentorship and funding for their projects.
U of I Engineering researchers Herb Hess, Brian Johnson and Greg Donohue team up with Pocatello, Idaho-based Inergy Solar to receive a one-year, $178,000 grant from the Idaho Higher Education Research Council’s Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) program to design a 5-kilowatt generator that weighs less than 100 pounds and can power everything in a typical home, from the lights to the refrigerator to the clothes dryer.
Three of the College of Engineering’s Engineering Outreach online graduate education programs have been named as the most affordable in the nation for 2016. The rankings come from OnlineU, a site that publishes annual rankings of the most affordable online degrees in the country across 24 popular subjects. Every degree is from an accredited school. U of I Computer Engineering master's degree has been listed as #9, Electrical Engineering master's degree as #17 and our Civil Engineering master's degree comes in at #11.
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