Major turnaround: Under my leadership as chair of the Preston M. Green Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering, ESE went through a major turnaround and growth from 2006 to 2016. At the beginning, most of the faculty were not research active. But after hiring young faculty and retirement of most of the pervoius faculty, the majority was young and excellent who started to build up their research and funding. The success in hiring excellent faculty was not at all obvious and should not have been taken for granted. Before my term, there was a period of 15 years that no EE faculty were hired and remained in the department, and similarly 19 years for SSM. Many people in the administration and our school lost their confidence in us. I encountered resistance to our existence, let alone our growth, which continued three years into my term. Despite these challenges and the turmoil at that period, I was able to hire excellent faculty and make many contributions. Our department became much stronger than before and I put it on a trajectory for great success.
Press: An article about my chairmanship in the WUSTL Engineering Momentum magazine of Fall 2016.
My key contributions:
- Hired 8 excellent tenure-track faculty members (out of the total of 14 in 2016). Also hired 8 lecturers, appointed 2 professors of practice, and hired all 5 staff members.
- During my term, all the first 3 hired faculty members won the NSF CAREER award. One of them also won the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).
- Oversaw the recuritment of top quality Ph.D. students
- Initated and oversaw the creation of M.S. Program in Data Analytics and Statistics in spring 2015.
- Initiated the creation of a Second Major in Financial Engineering in collaboration with the Olin Business School.
- Created ESE 497 Undergraduate Research (UGR) course in 2006 and mentored more than 100 students in this course. See also our paper E. Richter and A. Nehorai, "Enriching the undergraduate program with research projects," IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, Vol. 33, pp. 123-127, Nov. 2016.
- Created 4 study abroad programs for undergraduate students in Germany (2008) and Israel (2009, 2012, 2014).
- The enrollment of undergraduate students more than tripled in the four years after 2008. Most of the growth has been due to students who decided to move to our department after joining our university.
- 30% of all ESE undergraduate students were female in fall 2015.
- The enrollment of the master's students grew seven-fold from 2011 to 2015, which helped balance the school's budget.
- The numbers of the awarded BS and MS degrees were more than in any other department in the school of engineering in spring 2015.
- Led the move of the ESE department to our new building, the magnificent Preston M. Green Hall in 2011. I was very actively involved in the design of the building, from the layout to the choice of decorations.
- Played an important role in making the building of Green Hall happen by working closely with Ms. Green.
- The ESE department was named in honor of our alum Preston M. Green (EE 1936) in 2006.
- Expanded and strengthened connections to alumni, nominated many for the school's Alumni Achievement Awards, including Prof. W. E. Moerner (BSEE, BS Physics, AB Math 1975) who later won Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2014.
- Created numerous new web links in the ESE web site, including alumni news, hall of fame, and links to multiple samples with flowcharts of double degrees programs. To see the new link of ESE alumni, click here, and the new link for the double degrees programs, click here.
- Revitalized the local IEEE student chapter.
- Mentored and graduated 23 PhD students as sole advisor during the chair term 2006 to 2016.
- Led large multi-PI multi-university government grants including MURI, DARPA, NSF, and others.
- Hosted rising senior students from the Department of Automation, Tsinghua Universiy, China, for two months in Summer 2015.
- Gave an invited presentation about the Increased Enrollment in the ESE Department, at the annual ECEDHA meeting, Austin, Texas, March 26, 2012.
- Gave an invited presentation about Biomedical Opportunities in the Undergraduate EE Curriculum, at the annual ECEDHA meeting, New Orleans, March 20-24, 2009.
- Initiated major revisions in ESE 103 and 251, the introduction classes for EE and Systems in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
- Announced a new multi-team undergraduate project on Robotic Sensing, 2009.
Pictures as ESE Department Chair, Washington University (2006-2016)
- Event celebrating my ESE department chairmanship (November 29, 2016).
- ESE Honoring Faculty Event (May 7, 2015).
- ESE Faculty and Staff Holiday Party at our home (December 7, 2014).
- A photo from the Scholarship Event (November 20, 2014).
- Pictures from the dedication of Preston M.Green Hall (September 23, 2011).
- Pictures from the ESE External Advisory Board (September 23, 2011).
Preston M. Green Hall: The New ESE Buidling
Dedication of Preston M. Green Hall in 2011. Chancellor Mark Wrighton, Ms. Nancy Green, and Dean Ralph Quatrano are in the center. I am second from the left.