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Why Math Matters: Demonstrating the Relevance of Mathematics in ECE Education

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Technical Session 9

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count

11

DOI

10.18260/1-2--29128

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29128

Download Count

969

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Paper Authors

biography

Yajing Liu Colorado State University

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Yajing Liu is a PhD student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Colorado State University. She received the BS degree in Mathematics from Shaanxi Normal Univeristy, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China, in 2010.

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Ali Pezeshki Colorado State University

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Ali Pezeshki received the BSc and MSc degrees in electrical engineering from University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran, in 1999 and 2001, respectively. He earned his PhD degree in electrical engineering at Colorado State University in 2004. In 2005, he was a postdoctoral research associate with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Colorado State University. From January 2006 to August 2008, he was a postdoctoral research associate with The Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University. In August 2008, he joined the faculty of Colorado State University, where he is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Department of Mathematics. His research interests are in statistical signal processing, coding theory, applied harmonic analysis, and bioimaging.

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Sourajeet Roy Colorado State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-9860-3242

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Sourajeet Roy received the B.Tech. degree from Sikkim Manipal University, Gangtok, India, in 2006, and the M.E.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from Western University, London, ON, Canada, in 2009 and 2013, respectively, all in electrical engineering.

Dr. Roy currently serves as an Assistant Professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA. His current research interests include modeling and simulation of high speed circuits, signal and power integrity analysis of electronic packages, and uncertainty quantification of microwave/ RF circuits.

Dr. Roy is a recipient of the Vice-Chancellors Gold Medal at the undergraduate level in 2006, the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology in 2012, and the Ontario Graduate Scholarship in 2012. He currently serves as the reviewer for IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON MICROWAVE THEORY AND TECHNIQUES, IEEEE TRANSACTIONS ON COMPONENTS, PACKAGING AND MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY, IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ELECTROMAGNETIC COMPATIBILITY and IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON CIRCUITS AND SYSTEMS I: REGULAR PAPERS. He also currently serves as the guest associate editor for IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON COMPONENTS, PACKAGING AND MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY. His student has won the Best Poster Paper Award at the 23rd IEEE Conference on Electrical Performance of Electronic Packaging and Systems (EPEPS) in 2014.

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Branislav M. Notaros Colorado State University

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Branislav M. Notaros is Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Colorado State University, where he also is Director of Electromagnetics Laboratory. He received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in 1995. His research publications in computational and applied electromagnetics include more than 150 journal and conference papers. He is the author of textbooks Electromagnetics (2010) and MATLAB-Based Electromagnetics (2013), both with Pearson Prentice Hall. Prof. Notaros served as General Chair of FEM2012, Colorado, USA, and as Guest Editor of the Special Issue on Finite Elements for Microwave Engineering, in Electromagnetics, 2014. He was the recipient of the 1999 Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) Marconi Premium, 2005 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) MTT-S Microwave Prize, 2005 UMass Dartmouth Scholar of the Year Award, 2012 Colorado State University System Board of Governors Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2012 IEEE Region 5 Outstanding Engineering Educator Award, 2014 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Colorado Professor of the Year Award, 2015 American Society for Engineering Education ECE Distinguished Educator Award, 2015 IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Award, and many other research and teaching awards.

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Tom Chen Colorado State University

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Tom Chen received his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh. After spending 4 years with Philips Semiconductors in Europe, he joined the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Colorado State University. Prof. Chen published more than 180 journal and conference papers in the areas of analog and digital VLSI design and CAD for VLSI design. Prof. Chen served as the General Chair of 2015 IEEE Midwest Symposium on Circuits and Systems, and as the Guest Editor of IEEE Trans. on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits
and Systems Special Issue on Design Quality and Design Closure: Present Issues and Future Trend", 2005. He also served as the Guest Editor of the Microelectronics Journal on Quality Electronic Design, 2005. His research interests include VLSI circuit and system design, CAD methodology for VLSI design, and bioelectronics.

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Anthony A. Maciejewski Colorado State University

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Anthony A. Maciejewski received the BS, MS, and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from Ohio State University, Columbus in 1982, 1984, and 1987, respectively. From 1988 to 2001, he was a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University, West Lafayette. He is currently a professor and head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Colorado State University. He is a fellow of IEEE. A complete vita is available at: http://www.engr.colostate.edu/ ~aam.

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Abstract

This paper describes a team's efforts to transform the educational experience for electrical and computer engineering (ECE) students by demonstrating the importance of mathematics and the power of mathematical thinking. Math is a mainstay in ECE education. A holistic understanding of ECE concepts is highly dependent on students' grasp of key topics in mathematics, yet students are often intimidated by the mathematics required for the major and struggle to see why math matters. The dismal consequence is that students lack motivation and confidence, and eventually abandon the major.

In 2015, the ECE department received a five-year RED (Revolutionizing Engineering Departments) grant from the National Science Foundation to revamp the current engineering educational system. Performing research that leads to scalable and sustainable change in engineering education, the department is, in effect, throwing away courses to help students learn more meaningfully and effectively. The new pedagogical and organizational model treats the undergraduate degree as a complex system, giving consideration to the interconnectivity and integration of fundamental concepts across the program. This holistic approach emphasizes knowledge integration and weaves key threads (creativity, foundations, and professionalism) throughout the curriculum, stitching together and reinforcing relevant themes from the freshman to senior years.

With the goal of showing students why math is critical to becoming a successful engineer, this paper focuses on the foundations thread of the RED project. Even though the foundations thread encompasses topics in both math and science, this paper shines a light on mathematics and the role it plays in retention. The paper highlights the importance of the foundations "thread champion," a newly assigned role held by a faculty member who teaches subjects in the technical core of the ECE junior year and holds a joint faculty appointment in the Department of Mathematics. Working in concert with a Graduate Teaching Fellow, the thread champion and fellow faculty are garnering interest and building motivation by showing students that almost every calculation they perform is critical to solving real-world engineering problems. Whether putting a problem into the context of an engineering application such as the smart phone, or highlighting the fascinating history of mathematics, this paper explains the process the team is using to demonstrate why math matters – now and in the future. The team will know they are successful when students begin to view courses such as calculus as a building block for deeper learning instead of a subject to endure and disregard.

Liu, Y., & Pezeshki, A., & Roy, S., & Notaros, B. M., & Chen, T., & Maciejewski, A. A. (2017, June), Why Math Matters: Demonstrating the Relevance of Mathematics in ECE Education Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29128

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