February 2015

Letter from the Editor

Pritpal Singh 

Dear ECEDHA Members, Industry Partners, and Colleagues,

Welcome to the February 2015 issue of The ECE Source. This issue is focused on the topic of increasing diversity in the electrical and computer engineering careers. In particular, we have two articles by female computer scientists who provide some guidance on how to attract more female students into the computer science/computer engineering fields.

“But you don’t look like an engineer..” These are the profound words that introduce the interesting article about female engineering professors in the lead article in this issue of the source by Sheila S. Hemami and Marjolein C.H. van der Meulen. 

Increasing the diversity in the engineering professions, and the faculty in ECE departments is a challenge. In this article, the authors provide some insights into how to improve recruitment and retention of female faculty members – dispelling myths about recruiting female faculty members. They also describe an initiative that they have started at Cornell University to increase the number of female engineering faculty members on staff.

The second article is presented by Pooja Sankar, Founder and CEO of Piazza. She provides different strategies to make female students more comfortable in the Computer Science/Computer Engineering classrooms. In particular, she emphasizes more group work and collaborative/active learning rather than working in isolation.

I am proud to say that at Villanova University we have been able to recruit a number of female faculty members. Out of our 20 tenure/non-tenure track faculty members in the ECE department, we have 5 female faculty members! This 25% ratio of female to male makeup is also reflected in our undergraduate student population where we have over 20% female students. While these numbers are higher than the national average, we still have a long way to go to reach a diversity goal that is more reflective of the population at large.

Some of the issues related to increasing diversity will be addressed in a Diversity Panel at the Annual ECEDHA Conference. More details about this aspect of the conference are presented here by Barry Sullivan.

I hope that you have registered for the ECEDHA Annual Conference that will be taking place March 13-17, 2015 in Hilton Head. There are many interesting sessions and keynote speakers planned and a special pre-conference workshop on Cybersecurity. Of course, networking with colleagues is always a major attraction of this annual event.  

I look forward to seeing you at this year’s annual conference.

Warmest regards,

Pritpal (“Pali”) Singh
Professor and Chair, Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering Department, Villanova University
2014-2015 Editor-in-Chief, The ECE Source



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