Strategic Plan (Draft)

Strategic Plan (Draft)
  1. Background

    The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) is a small-sized department within the College of Engineering (CoE) of the University of Miami (UM). It offers the Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering (B.S.C.E.), the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (B.S.E.E.), the Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (M.S.E.C.E.), and the Ph.D. degrees in ECE. Both of the undergraduate degrees are accredited by ABET. The department has 12 tenured/tenure track faculty.

    The long-term goals of the department are:

    1. to bring the department into the top 50 in the US by enhancing the quality of our programs, our faculty and our student body, and by enhancing our visibility; and
    2. to continue to focus on a few selected important interdisciplinary areas of excellence that will create outstanding programs of research and contribute to both undergraduate and graduate education and research.

    ECE is a lynchpin and a strong component of every university in the US that ranks at the top 50. In order to improve the UM CoE ranking, and in order to propel UM into the top tiers of STEM research, we in the UM ECE Department plan to do our best to improve our programs and stature.

    To achieve educational excellence, we need to have a balance between theory and practice through the improvement of the hands-on design and project-based experience for the students. In addition, new modes of education need to be incorporated into the curriculum, e.g., flipped classrooms. To achieve excellence in research, we need to have faculty who are active in research as measured by faculty research expenditure per year as well as number of publications and number of graduated Ph.D. students.

    On January 29, 2016, at the occasion of his inauguration as the 6thPresident of the UM, Dr. Julio Frenk unveiled his vision and platform for UM for the upcoming decade. During the Fall 2015 semester, President Frenk visited all UM Colleges/Schools, including the CoE, for an exchange of information with faculty members regarding the direction and vision for the CoE. Taking the role as a gateway to the Americas, and taking leading and pioneering roles in tackling problems related to global warming, sustainability, and healthcare, were featured prominently as goals to be reached in his vision for the UM. The expertise and capabilities within the CoE, in particular within ECE, will play a prominent role in bringing these goals into fruition. With this in mind, ECE has identified several research thrust areas in which resources will be invested over the next five years.

    Areas of Strength in ECE

    The area of active research with the ECE Department include:

    • Statistical signal processing.
    • Image and video processing, pattern recognition, and computer vision.
    • Machine learning and big data analytics.
    • Bioinformatics, computational biology, and genomics.
    • Nano-photonics, plasmonics, micro/nano-electronic devices, nano-materials and structures.
    • Fusion and learning in networks.
    • Data mining, multimedia information systems, multimedia networking and security.
    • Intelligent sensor microchips and MEMS, BioMEMS, implantable medical devices, VLSI, ASICS, system- on-a-chip, FPGAs.
    • Integrated optics, holography, lithography, spectral imaging, optical coherence tomography.
    • Game theory, multi-agent systems.
    Areas in need of Future Improvement

    Certain weaknesses of the ECE, to be overcome to achieve the goals laid out in this strategic plan, include:

    • Small faculty size, both making it difficult to offer the required courses regularly, and imposing larger teaching responsibilities than peer/benchmark institutions;

    • Low number of Teaching Assistants, making it difficult to offer sufficient number of laboratory/project sessions

    • Faculty attrition in key research areas, e.g., cybersecurity, where significant investment has been made in recent years and immediate timely recruitment of new faculty is required to sustain strength and momentum.
    • Lack of tuition-paying MS students due to a small number of graduate courses due to the small faculty size.
  2. Areas for Strategic Development

    As mentioned above, President Frenk's vision statement calls for UM to take a prominent role as a gateway to the Americas and to tackle problems related to global warming, sustainability, and healthcare. Realizing the criticality of the capabilities and expertise available within ECE for achieving these broad goals, in a faculty retreat held on December 09, 2015, the ECE faculty identified the following overlapping research thrust areas for strategic development:

    1. Cyber-Security, Cyber-Physical Systems & Internet-of-Things
    2. Big Data & Informatics
    3. Nanotechnology & Smart Devices
    4. Robotics: Medical, and Mobile

    The ECE faculty believes that the sustainability of our students, faculty, and the university as a whole, depends on generating a student population that is adept at these trending core knowledge areas.

    1. Program Direction

      The four areas of strategic development identified above will play a significant role in determining the direction that ECE takes within the next 5-10 years.

      1. Cyber-Security and Cyber-Physical Systems & the Internet of Things.

        Our society relies upon cyber-infrastructure in the form of the Internet, telecommunications, the power grid, computer servers and so forth to undergird commerce, the financial systems, and many other essential functions of contemporary society. Given the trend to connect devices and systems of all manners and scales, such as medical devices, or manufacturing plants, to the Internet or other networks, there is a need for fundamental inquiry into the design of hardware, software, and algorithms in such cyber-physical systems. In particular, such cyber-physical systems are expected to execute mission-critical tasks essential to contemporary society, and so the performance issues of security, self-healing and adaptation, and robustness are of paramount importance.

        Relevance to President Frenk’s Plan:

        This research thrust aims towards sustainability in a connected world. Society takes for granted the operation of the technology for power, communications, networking, healthcare, and so forth. By focusing on the fundamental issues of design related to the performance of interconnected devices, systems, and the humans operating them, along with the needs of humans, this strategic thrust is focusing on the essence of sustaining the systems essential to society and our world. This strategic thrust also focuses on excellence in engineering and its contribution to society.

        Current ECE focus on This Thrust:

        ECE faculty members are currently working on basic analytical models for cyberphysical systems and cyberphysical security, such as the design of a secure Internet, and smart grids. ECE faculty are also working on distributed data fusion and multi-agent systems which has application to the issues related to distribution decision making and consensus regarding the state of real-time interconnected cybersphysical systems that are attempting to make sense of their operational data. (2 faculty)

        Need for Additional Faculty in this Thrust:

        To complement this existing research and to fully address the issues of sustainable systems, the ECE Department needs new faculty (3 faculty) focusing on the fundamentals of design and implementation of hardware and software systems related to cyberphysical systems, cybersecurity, and the Internet of Things. The new faculty more focused on implementations can team up with the existing faculty with expertise in analytical work to form a cluster related to holistic solutions to fundamental research challenges. The state-of-the-art facilities available in ECE's Fortinet Laboratory can be fully exploited for purposes of research and also for providing hands-on experience for undergraduate/graduate students on matters related to cyber- attacks on critical infrastructure.

        Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Collaboration:

        This research thrust is related to a similar thrust in the College of Arts & Sciences (complex systems), and so collaboration with other STEM faculty in A&S is possible. In addition, this thrust is intimately related to how people use technology, and so collaboration with faculty in the social sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology) is also possible, as well as with the Miller School of Medicine (robust connected medical devices, systems, and secure health records/databases), and School of Architecture (smart buildings and cities).

      2. Big Data and Informatics

        With the increase in networked sensing devices and systems, we are witnessing an increase in the amount of data available for undertaking fundamental inquiry. For example, genomic sequences, medical images and biomedical signals, social network data, financial data, educational data, remote sensing data, and many other types are all part of the era of big data. In order to understand and extract meaning from such data, and to engineer new systems based on the insights from big data, there is a need for research into fundamental algorithms, and systems for handling and harnessing big data, such as cloud computing and cognitive systems.

        Relevance to President Frenk's Plan:

        President Frenk has emphasized problem-based interdisciplinary research as an important thrust for UM. This ECE thrust is focused on exemplifying this effort. In order to understand the spread and evolution of opinions in social networks, or to understand genetic networks, or to understand the effect of climate change on coastal communities and engineer new solutions, or to address other important related questions, one must leverage novel and fundamental methods for handling and processing various new types of signals and data. President Frenk has also mentioned big data as a platform for investigating big problems, and this thrust is focused on delivering relevant solutions.

        Current ECE Focus on This Thrust:

        Current ECE faculty are mainly focused on the algorithmic aspects of big data and informatics, namely the design of statistical signal processing, data mining, data fusion, machine learning, image processing, game theory, and computer vision methods for processing various types of signals and data with different levels of quality, data velocities and volumes. For example, faculty are working on the analysis of genomic data for the detection of cancer gene markers, the detection of toxicity and pathogens in the water supply, face recognition for security applications, and other problems of importance. (3 faculty)

        Need for Additional Faculty in This Thrust:

        To complement this existing research, and to fully unleash the knowledge potential of big data, new faculty (2 faculty) who work on hardware/software implementations related to cloud computing, distributed processing of big data as well as new and novel algorithmic approaches are needed. Considering that much of the big data may be located in different locations, with various requirements regarding data privacy and security, there is a need for research on designing the distributed hardware and software that can implement the algorithmic solutions cognizant of these constraints. In addition, there is room for additional faculty working on novel algorithmic approaches or approaches amenable to hardware/software implementations such as cognitive computing systems and deep learning architectures for learning from data. By hiring additional faculty specializing in hardware/software and novel algorithmic aspects for big data, the ECE Department will be able to build a research cluster centered on novel complete system approaches to problem-based interdisciplinary inquiry. Such a cluster will also help improve the undergraduate experience for students.

        Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Collaboration:

        Faculty in ECE are currently developing novel signal and data processing methodologies for use in collaborative research with faculty in the Miller School of Medicine, RSMAS, and faculty in Arts & Sciences on interdisciplinary research questions. By adding additional faculty in this strategic thrust, the ECE Department will be able to expand such collaboration by offering additional problem solving dimensions (e.g., design of algorithms and hardware/software systems for understanding medical data that is subject to privacy, and security requirements as well as federal regulations).

      3. Nanotechnology & Smart Devices.

        Fundamental research into devices, circuits, and systems at different scales are needed to engineer solutions to challenges in medicine and health care, energy harvesting and storage, sensing the environment, and in other domains. For example, novel materials can be fabricated into novel devices, which can be incorporated into novel circuits, which can be part of a novel embedded system within a novel portable medical diagnostic device. Therefore, this thrust is focused on fundamental research into devices, circuits, and systems from the nano-scale to a complete application solution.

        Relevance to President Frenk’s Plan:

        President Frenk has emphasized the need for basic and applied science and engineering to address issues in sustainability, sea-level rise and climate change, and health. This thrust focuses on tangible devices and systems aimed at addressing these challenges. For example, devices for energy harvesting focus on sustainability. Devices related to remote sensing can be used for environmental sensing related to climate change. Devices for medical diagnostics relate to health. Problem-based interdisciplinary inquiry will drive the development of the novel smart devices at the nanoscale to complete systems.

        Current ECE Focus on This Thrust:

        ECE faculty are currently involved in designing nanophotonic devices for energy harvesting and storage as well as biomedical applications. ECE faculty are also involved in the design of nanoscale MEMS devices for the detection of cancer. ECE faculty are also involved in the design of optical devices and systems for hyperspectral imaging, and other applications. ECE Faculty members are heavily involved in the operation and management of the BioNIUM facility that is an essential laboratory component of this thrust. (3 faculty)

        Need for Additional Faculty in This Thrust:

        To complement this existing work, the ECE Department needs faculty (2 faculty) who work on novel devices, circuits, and hardware to offer complete applications solutions to pressing problems such as the design of portable medical diagnostic equipment. For example, faculty working on the design of novel nanoscale materials and devices, novel integrated circuits, novel power electronics, embedded systems, and processors can all contribute to the design of complete solutions in conjunction with the existing faculty. Therefore, by hiring additional faculty in this thrust, the ECE Department will be able to establish a cluster dedicated to the design of portable, low-power, smart devices, sensors, and systems addressing important problems. Such a cluster will also help improve the educational experience for undergraduates.

        Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Collaboration:

        As within the other thrusts, there are numerous possibilities for collaboration within CoE. There are also a number of opportunities for collaboration with other units such as Arts & Sciences (e.g., chemistry, physics), RSMAS, and the MSM (e.g., pathology, surgery).

      4. Robotics: Medical and Mobile:

        Robotic systems are rapidly being developed worldwide for various applications such as surgery, home healthcare, investigation of hazards, and remote surveillance. This thrust is geared towards the design of robots for surgery, and mobile robots (e.g., unmanned aerial vehicles, land-based mobile robots, or underwater robots) for helping humans complete tasks and solve problems. This thrust will be pursued in collaboration with MAE, the Miller School of Medicine (e.g., Dept. of Surgery), and possibly RSMAS (for underwater robotics).

        Relevance to President Frenk’s Plan:

        This thrust is focused on sustaining and enhancing life, as robots can be used to work in conjunction with humans to help solve difficult tasks related to interdisciplinary problems.

        Current ECE Focus on This Thrust:

        Current ECE faculty members are working on algorithmic aspects of autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, and computer vision, including underwater computer vision, commonly used in robotic solutions. However, there are no faculty members dedicated to robotics in ECE, or the CoE in general.

        Need for Additional Faculty in this Thrust:

        By working in conjunction with other departments within the CoE, and with other units, ECE faculty focused on robotics will be able to be part of a cluster working on novel systems. For example, this cluster can focus on robotic surgery, or robots for investigating, evaluating and addressing hazards such as chemical or radioactive leaks after a natural disaster, or robots for performing aerial surveillance and mitigation of chemical leaks, or robots for underwater exploration. These are just illustrative examples. The point is that the cluster must consist of faculty from different departments and units who work together to design solutions to important problems and questions. Given the multidisciplinary nature of this area, the ECE department needs additional faculty members (2 faculty) in order to establish collaborations across different departments within CoE, College of Arts and Sciences (CS) and the Miller School of Medicine.

        Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Collaboration:

        As within the other thrusts, there are numerous possibilities for collaboration within CoE as well as with other units such as Arts & Sciences (e.g., physics, psychology), RSMAS, and the MSM (e.g., pathology, surgery).

    2. Resource Allocation and Needs

      ECE firmly believes that the establishment of an effective and a highly competitive research program can only be accomplished via tenure-track and/or tenured faculty members. The plan for hiring in a strategic manner is described in our section on our Strategic Research Thrusts. According to the plan 9 new faculty hires are required to achieve our goals. ECE strongly believes that bringing in new faculty to collaborate with the existing faculty in research clusters will lead to improved chances for obtaining large external grants. This will also help in retaining early career faculty who want to collaborate on groundbreaking fundamental research.

      Adequate laboratory space for new and existing faculty members is needed. In addition, the department needs more resources in terms of space for undergraduate students to be able to work on projects and undergraduate research. The Department also needs additional teaching assistant resources to improve our undergraduates’ educational experience. The department needs at least 6 more teaching assistants over the next five years.

    3. Opportunities: Collaboration/Partnership with Other Units at UM
      1. Past and Future Collaborative Activities with the Department of Computer Science (CS)

        ECE has enjoyed a productive partnership with CS in the past, and the fruitful collaborative activities will continue in the future. These collaborative activities have included, and will continue to include, joint program and course development, membership on faculty search committees, and service on thesis/dissertation committees.

        Program and Curriculum Development

        In particular, ECE and CS worked closely together to create the existing program in Software Engineering. This entailed numerous joint meetings with faculty in both departments, resulting in the creation of new courses and revision of existing courses in both departments, and coordinated offerings of courses to maximize opportunities for students to benefit from courses offered in the other department. This cooperation has benefited both departments, as CS students now take ECE classes, and ECE students take CS classes to satisfy graduation requirements.

        In addition, ECE and CS have recently collaborated to design a new M.S. program in cybersecurity. In this program, M.S. students will take both ECE and CS courses, as well as courses in other departments. Again, this agreement stems from close collaboration between faculty in ECE and CS.

        ECE will continue to collaborate with CS on terms of program and curriculum development.

        Membership on Faculty Search Committees

        In the 2015-2016 academic year, Dr. Kamal Premaratne of ECE served on the faculty search committee of CS which was formed for recruiting a faculty position in security. This involved examining the applications, interviewing the faculty candidates, participating in the discussion with CS faculty on the interviewees' strengths and weaknesses, and making a ranked list of recommendations. In ECE's recruiting in areas such as cybersecurity, CS faculty will be included so that their expertise and input could be taken into account during the complete hiring process. Cybersecurity is an area where the teaching and research expertise of ECE and CS faculty overlap, and involving CS faculty in the hiring process is likely to spur collaboration in research and proposal submission.

        Service on Thesis Committees

        Numerous CS faculty have served on M.S. and Ph.D. committees of ECE graduate students, and vice versa. This collaborative activity will certainly continue in the future.

        Other Collaborations

        Dr. Negahdaripour has a secondary appointment in CS.
        Dr. Khuri (Research assistant professor in CS and director of Engagement at CCS) has a secondary appointment at ECE.
        Dr. Ogihara from CS has a secondary appointment at ECE.
        Dr. Sarkar from CS attends research meetings in ECE with Drs. Murthi and Premaratne. The three of them have also collaborated on some papers.
        Dr. Visser from CS serves in Ph.D. committees at ECE and have joint papers with Dr. Kabuka. Dr. Ogihara was invited to serve in the promotion case of Dr. Shyu.

      2. Past and Future Collaborative Activities with the Miller School of Medicine (MSM)

        The ECE Department has collaborated with the MSM in terms of faculty hiring and support, development and management of the BioNiUM clean room facility, and in terms of collaborative research. This cooperation and collaboration will continue and expand in the future.

        Faculty Hiring and Support

        The Department of Pathology has collaborated with the ECE during the process of hiring both Drs. Kim and Tığlı, who are currently ECE tenure-track faculty members, and offering them secondary appointments and laboratory access. In particular, faculty in the Department of Pathology participated in the interview process, and participated in providing both salary support, and start-up package support for the formal hiring. Drs. Kim and Tığlı regularly meet with faculty in Pathology, where they have secondary appointments, and use the laboratory space in the BioNiUM facility. The Department of Pathology and other Departments within the MSM continue to be interested in interviewing potential faculty candidates whose research interests in ECE overlap with the applications and interests of the MSM faculty. ECE will continue to cooperate with the MSM in terms of faculty hiring and support.

        Development and Management of the BioNiUM Facility

        In collaboration with MSM faculty, and faculty from other departments, both Drs. Kim and Tığlı have been extensively involved in the planning, development, and now running of the BioNIUM clean-room facility, which offers them the ability to fabricate and test novel nano-scale devices and circuits. Both Drs. Kim and Tığlı use the facility in their research. In addition, Dr. Kim uses the facility for educational purposes as well, teaching both undergraduate and graduate students the basics of fabricating micro and nanodevices. In the near future, Dr. Kim will assume a more significant role in the academic leadership of BioNiUM. As ECE expands its research thrusts in novel nano-technology and smart devices, and health informatics, there will be an increase in the collaboration between ECE faculty and MSM faculty in terms of use of facilities.

        Collaborative Research with the Miller School of Medicine:

        The ECE faculty has had extensive research collaboration with the MSM faculty. As mentioned, Drs. Kim and Tığlı have had research cooperation with faculty in Pathology for several years. In addition, Dr. Wang has collaborated with faculty in Ophthalmology on the development of optical devices addressing research in human vision. Drs. Kubat and Premaratne collaborated with Dr. Jayaweera, the MSM Executive Dean for Research, Research Education, and Innovation Medicine, on an NSF-funded project on designing algorithms that determine suitable drug regiments to patients with HIV/AIDS. Dr. Cai has collaborated, and continues to collaborate, with MSM faculty on work related to his NIH R01 research grant. Other faculty members in ECE (e.g., Dr. Shyu and Dr. Kabuka) have also established collaborative partnerships with MSM faculty. Again, we expect that, as ECE expands its research thrusts in health informatics, the funded research collaboration between ECE and MSM faculty will increase.

      3. Past and Future Collaboration with Other Units within the College of Arts and Sciences and RSMAS

        The ECE faculty has also pursued collaborative research with faculty in other departments within the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as with faculty in RSMAS. In particular, Drs. Murthi and Premaratne have collaborated with Dr. Debra Lieberman in Psychology on a project funded by ONR. Both Drs. Murthi and Premaratne have also collaborated with RSMAS Department of Marine Geosciences faculty members Drs. Amelung and Wdowinski on a proposal pending at NSF. Dr. Kim has collaborated on research and proposals with faculty in Chemistry. Dr. Negahdaripour collaborated wth RSMAS faculty on a DOD SERDP project on utilizing underwater remotely operated robotic vehicles (ROVs) in coral reef mapping for the purpose of monitoring and health assessment; selected as the 2009 SERDP Project of the Year. Given this record of research collaboration, we expect that the ECE faculty will continue to collaborate with faculty in other units of Arts and Sciences and RSMAS in investigating problems that require an interdisciplinary approach.

    4. Strengthen graduate education

      The quality of Graduate Education has a direct impact on the external reputation of the department. To strengthen graduate education, the ECE Department will make improvements in recruiting, training, and placement of graduate students.

      • Improve recruitment of high quality graduate students: increase the information accessible to applicants by distributing the ECE Graduate Brochure.
        • Quantitative measures: # of graduate applicants.
      • Develop an MS program with high community impact to increase revenue and enrollment, such as the MS program in cybersecurity
        • Quantitative measures: # of MS graduate students.
      • Graduate curriculum improvement—Graduate students need to be trained in the fundamentals as well as advanced topics. Towards that end, we will offer core courses and advanced topics courses on a regular basis:
        • Select 3-5 core classes for CE
        • Select 3-5 core classes for EE, one set for systems, one set for circuits/devices
        • At least one advanced topics course in ECE each year. Such courses can be avenues for problem-based interdisciplinary inquiry.
      • Increase quality of technical articles coauthored by graduate students.
      • Increase graduate student collaborations with faculty colleagues/graduate students across different disciplines, different schools, and different institutions.
        • Quantitative measures: # of technical articles where graduate students collaborate with faculty colleagues/graduate students across different disciplines, different schools, and different institutions.
      • Increase awareness of available financial aid awards.
        • Quantitative measures: # of graduate students with financial aid awards and fellowships.

      Improve the stature and visibility of our graduate students by ensuring their participation in high profile international conferences where they can present their research results to the communities of interest

    5. Strengthen undergraduate education

      The ECE Department expects that additional faculty hiring in the outlined strategic thrusts will help improve the undergraduate experience for students. In particular, students will be able to take a greater variety of courses, with more hands-on project/design experience, and have a greater opportunity for undergraduate research. Therefore, we expect that additional faculty and additional teaching assistant resources commensurate with other peer/benchmark ECE Departments will lead to large improvements in the undergraduate experience.

      To strengthen the undergraduate ECE experience, the Department will focus on improvements related to its degree programs, freshman experience, core courses and methods of instruction, and senior design, assuming there are adequate resources to execute these improvements.

      Degree Programs:
      1. New program: Create new Software Engineering program, separate from Computer Engineering, having two options : (a) Cybersecurity, (b) Medical Informatics.
      2. Enhance existing EE programs in Audio Engineering, and Pre-Med.
      Freshman Experience:
      1. ECE 111: The ECE Department should own and control ECE 111 and use it as a primary tool for student attraction and retention. Currently, entering CoE students are not exposed to ECE in the current versions of 111. The ECE Department should have control over this course to improve exposure, attraction, and retention.
      2. ECE 112: Currently, students are exposed to a variety of design experiences in ECE 112. We should expose the students to the possibilities of what they can design by the end of their education by having them attend the senior design presentations.
      Core Courses and Methods of Instruction:
      Illustrating Relevance:

      Students need to see the relevance of the core courses to the new inventions and everyday technologies that they are using. For example, students may wonder how a touchscreen on their phone works, and how it is designed. Such a question can be used to introduce basic topics such as capacitors, and show how the fundamentals in an introductory circuits course are relevant to the operation of their phone. Therefore, the ECE Department will put together a set of technology briefs to be included in the core courses. These briefs will show how basic concepts manifest themselves in the everyday technologies that the students use.

      Emphasizing Projects and Design:

      The ECE Department plans to substantially increase the amount of time students are involved in hands-on projects and design throughout the curriculum, starting with the core courses. Students need to learn how to design, build, test, and debug systems in order to become inventors and entrepreneurs. Therefore, the ECE Department needs additional TA resources to help implement this plan. In addition, students need adequate laboratory/project space. Currently students need to carry their projects with them, which hampers their ability to tinker, think, design, and test.

      Improving Modes of Instruction:

      The ECE Department will experiment with different modes of instruction, such as active learning, in order to improve the undergraduate experience, and undergraduate learning outcomes. One important component of this would be to increase the number of problem-solving/design sessions in which TAs work with students to help them learn how to solve course-related engineering problems, and undertake design/invention. The ECE Department currently has much fewer TAs than the benchmark/peer ECE Departments.

      Improve Participation in Undergraduate Research:

      Problem-based interdisciplinary inquiry is attractive to students, and so the funded research projects in these areas should use REU and other avenues to attract undergraduates interested in participating in research projects.

      Senior Project:
      1. Spread design preparation (1 credit) and design implementation (2) credits) into 3 one-credit courses spanning over the three last semesters of studies.
      2. Make senior project presentation day a much bigger and better event.
      3. Recognize more best design projects by creating new, non-monetary-value senior design award categories, in addition for the Tzay Young Award, such as, best projects in innovation, best for broad impact, best for low cost/value, and best for interdisciplinary work.
    6. Improve visibility
      1. Highlight our research activities in some high impact (visual) form, emphasize its relevance to society, as well as how we are already engaged in areas identified by the president;

      2. Video testimonial of our former students about their education, particularly those in key industrial positions AND those graduated from top schools stating how their education prepared them for graduate studies work;

      3. More active interaction through Facebook and other social media platforms;

      In addition, we have to be more actively involved with local schools (at junior as well as senior high schools), e.g., public day during senior design presentation; some weekend events with high school students and counselors, e.g., competition events with teams of UM students and faculty and high school students and counselors.

  3. Peer Departments with Small Faculty Size

    Rice University

    Brown University

    Rank (CE/EE)






    B.S. Degrees



    M.S. degrees



    Ph.D. Degrees



  4. Measuring Success

    1. Research funding: $250k/faculty/year in 5 years

    2. Publications: 3 journal papers/faculty/year

    3. Number of Ph.D. students: 3/faculty