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Baskin Engineering hosts 2019 Western Electrical & Computer Engineering Department Head Association summit

Attendees of the 2019 WECEDHA annual summit
Attendees of the 2019 WECEDHA annual summit
Monday, January 6, 2020
James McGirk

While the rest of campus was winding down in anticipation of Thanksgiving break, Baskin Engineering was humming with activity. The Electrical and Computer Engineering department and Marco Rolandi as chair hosted the 2019 WECEDHA annual summit, the western portion of the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department Heads Association.

“We’re really honored to be here at UC Santa Cruz,” said John Janowiak, executive director of ECEDHA. “The Western region, which stretches from the Pacific to the Rockies, is one of the most active regions within the national organization. Being able to gather here allows us to share on a regional basis and also talk about what we’re doing.”

The ECEDHA represents all accredited Electrical and Computer Engineering departments in North America.

“We have about 300 member universities that we help,” John Janowiak said. “Really it’s a peer-to-peer organization that allows departments and their chairs and faculty to network and learn from each other: lab techniques, advanced teaching methodologies as well as a host of other subjects that really help catalyze and really help position ECE as one of the leading professions.”

On the agenda were a morning hike to campus from the town, updates from individual departments, workshops on Bias Busting, a panel on capstone design and how to scale experiential learning moderated by Tamara Ball, from the UC Santa Cruz Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators. Lisa Hunter, also from the ISEE spoke about preparing graduate students with effective and inclusive professional skills; Frank Howley, UCSC’s senior director for corporate development, led a discussion on creating value with alumni and industry beyond philanthropy and research collaborations; UCSC environmental health and safety director Lisa Wisser discussed navigating safety in contemporary ECE (a topic spanning everything from chemicals to drones!).

Along the way there were presentations and posters from UCSC, UCSD, and UC Berkeley students as part of an iRedefine event for increasing the number of new faculty from underrepresented groups. The summit was sponsored by SK hynix, a South Korean semiconductor company.

For more information about WECEDHA, please visit: