Marc Christensen

Dinesh Rajan named Cecil and Ida Green Endowed Professor of Engineering in SMU’s Lyle School

Dinesh Rajan, Cecil and Ida Green Endowed Professor of Engineering, SMU

Dinesh Rajan, Department of Electrical Engineering, has been named the Cecil and Ida Green Endowed Professor of Engineering in SMU’s Lyle School.

Dinesh Rajan has been named the Cecil and Ida Green Endowed Professor of Engineering in SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering. He is the first faculty member to be named to the recently established professorship, made possible by the growth of an endowment provided by Cecil and Ida Green in 1979.

Rajan came to SMU in 2002 with experience in both academia and industry, having held positions at both Rice University and Nokia. Since arriving at the University, he has served as professor and chair of the Electrical Engineering Department, providing leadership to the faculty while pursuing greater departmental productivity in research.

“Dinesh is an award-winning teacher and innovative researcher. He has made definitive contributions to his research field and continues to build upon that reputation,” said Lyle Dean Marc Christensen. “Outside the classroom, Dinesh utilizes his intellect and energy to motivate young engineers through undergraduate research and senior design. He is consistently striving to stretch his boundaries, and I look forward to what he will achieve in the future.”

Rajan has published more than 100 peer-reviewed technical articles in leading journals and at conferences. He also has co-edited two books. He has been awarded research grants totaling more than $7 million supported by federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and companies including Toyota and Nokia. He was technical program chair for the IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference in 2009 and has served on other conference executive and technical committees.

Rajan’s broad research interests are focused on the sensing/extraction, transmission and dissemination of information. His work is interdisciplinary in nature and spans the traditional areas of information theory, wireless communications, signal processing and operations research. Most recently, he has focused on improving wireless data rates and reducing battery consumption. Another ongoing project develops cognitive methods to overcome challenge of scarce wireless spectrum and improve wireless connectivity and data rates.

His honors for teaching and research include the NSF CAREER Award in 2006 for his work on applying information theory to the design of mobile networks, a Ford Research Fellowship in 2012, SMU’s Golden Mustang Award in 2008, IEEE Outstanding Young Engineer in 2009, and multiple outstanding EE faculty teaching awards.

Rajan earned his B.Tech degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras. He also was awarded M.S and Ph.D degrees from Rice University in Houston, both in the areas of electrical and computer engineering.

Cecil and Ida Green provided endowments for two faculty chairs in what is now the Lyle School of Engineering, both of which multiplied over time to provide funds for an additional professorship. Their gift of approximately $1.5 million in 1979 established the Cecil and Ida Green Chair currently held by Milton Gosney, and has grown over time to provide funding for the professorship held by Rajan. Their gift of $891,558 in 1969 endowed the Cecil H. Green Chair of Engineering held by Stephen Szygenda and now also supports Sila Cetinkaya as the Cecil H. Green Professor of Engineering. The couple’s gift of approximately $500,000 in 1979 also endowed the Cecil and Ida Green Fund for Excellence in Engineering and Applied Science Education to strengthen and enrich programs in the school.

Ida Green ’46 was a member of the SMU Board of Trustees, and was honored by the University in 1977 as a distinguished alumna. She died in 1986. Cecil Green, a British-born, naturalized American geophysicist and alumnus of MIT, was one of the four co-founders of Texas Instruments. He was made an honorary alumnus of SMU in 1962 and received an honorary doctor of science degree from the University in 1967. Cecil Green died in 2003 at the age of 102.

SMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education names Leanne Ketterlin-Geller director of K-12 STEM Initiatives

Leanne Ketterlin-GellerSMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education has named Associate Professor Leanne Ketterlin-Geller as its new director of K-12 STEM Initiatives.

A faculty member in education policy and leadership and director of research in mathematics education in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Ketterlin-Geller will bring a cross-disciplinary focus to her new role with the Institute, housed in the University’s Lyle School of Engineering.

Ketterlin-Geller is an expert in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, and her research focuses on mathematics education through instructional leadership principles and practices. Her new position will include working with the Caruth Institute’s Infinity Project, developing partnerships with area schools, working with Lyle engineering programs geared toward middle and high school students, and working with departments and faculty members to match their engineering expertise to K-12 outreach opportunities.

Ketterlin-Geller will work closely with Delores Etter, executive director of the Caruth Institute and TI Distinguished Chair in Engineering Education, as well as other faculty members from both schools to advance the K-12 STEM initiatives of the Institute.

“Professor Ketterlin-Geller’s extensive experience as a leader in STEM and K-12 education will bring much needed expertise in addressing the critical mission of the Caruth Institute,” Etter said. “Her role within the Simmons School of Education and Human Development will strengthen the necessary collaboration between our two schools.”

“The work that Dr. Ketterlin-Geller will direct is essential to our goal to increase the number and diversity of students with both the enthusiasm and knowledge to pursue the engineering careers that are necessary for the U.S. to compete in a global economy,” said Lyle Dean Marc Christensen. “This appointment demonstrates our commitment to the emerging collaborations between the Simmons School of Education and the Lyle School of Engineering. We look forward to what we can achieve together.”

“Through these Caruth Institute initiatives students will see the power of math in daily life – and engineering is where we really see this at work,” said Ketterlin-Geller. “We hope to develop engaging and interesting programs for both teachers and students that will help all students develop both confidence and competence in STEM fields. This collaboration presents an exciting opportunity to work across disciplines to help foster innovation in K-12 STEM education.”

A former high school science teacher, Ketterlin-Geller has served as principal investigator for federal, state, and locally funded research grants emphasizing the development of instructional materials and formative assessment procedures in mathematics. Much of her research is focused on supporting algebra readiness in elementary and middle school mathematics. She works closely with teachers and administrators to understand the application of measurement and assessment principles for making decisions in school settings. She publishes and delivers presentations on mathematics education, measurement and assessment as well as special education.

Ketterlin-Geller and Simmons School Dean David Chard are part of the national research team working on the George W. Bush Institute’s education initiative, Middle School Matters.

> Read the full story from SMU News

SMU Lyle to offer first-of-its-kind graduate degree in datacenter systems engineering

Stock photo of an engineer in a datacenter's server farmSMU’s Lyle School of Engineering has created a new Master of Science in datacenter systems engineering, the first of its kind in the United States. The first students in this multidisciplinary program will be admitted for the Fall 2014 term.

The program is open to full-time and part-time graduate students, and is available on the Dallas campus as well as through the Lyle School’s distance education program. Enrollment is expected from current professionals in industry and government, as well as undergraduates in engineering, science, mathematics and business preparing to enter the field for the first time.

At least four million workers currently are associated with datacenter operations, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and the number is expected to increase by 800,000 in 2016, and by an additional 2 million by 2018.  Approximately 70 percent of these workers will have Bachelor’s degrees or higher.

“Our society has become intimately linked to a variety of digital networks including social media, search engines, e-commerce, gaming and big data,” said Lyle Dean Marc Christensen. “Data center design is a fascinating challenge due to the millions of dollars lost per second of outage. The proper management and design of these datacenters require a diverse combination of highly specialized skills, and SMU Lyle is uniquely positioned to offer a degree that will connect all the needed technical disciplines.”

The new degree is built around five core courses that address the industry broadly, while offering elective specializations in three technical areas:

  • Facilities, infrastructure and subsystems
  • Datasystems engineering and analytics
  • Computer networks, virtualization, security and cloud computing

The program is directed toward preparing professionals for a leadership role in the field, whether specifically as a technical contributor or more broadly in management. The degree is designed to build a solid foundation for continued professional growth consistent with modern datacenter engineering practices and the changes that lie ahead for the industry.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Read the full story from SMU News

$7.75 million gift will create cyber security institute in SMU Lyle

Darwin Deason

Darwin Deason

A $7.75 million gift from Darwin Deason, founder of Affiliated Computer Services, will launch the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security and support the Deason Innovation Gym in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering.

Deason’s gift provides a $5 million endowment, as well as $1.25 million in operational funding, for the new institute, headed by renowned cyber security expert Fred Chang. Formerly research director at the National Security Agency (NSA), Chang joined SMU in fall 2013 as the inaugural Bobby B. Lyle Endowed Centennial Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security with the goal of creating the Institute that now bears Deason’s name.

The gift provides another $1.5 million to support the operation of the Innovation Gym, also named in honor of the Deason family. The Innovation Gym is a facility in which students are immersed into a fast-paced environment to solve engineering problems.

“This support immediately positions the Lyle School to make significant contributions to the science of cyber security,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Darwin Deason’s generous gift of operational funding, in addition to the endowment, allows the Institute to begin addressing critical cyber security issues from day one, advancements that will have an impact far beyond our campus nationally and globally.”

“Darwin Deason’s gift will support important research and education across a broad spectrum of student involvement,” said Lyle School Dean Marc Christensen. “The institute will attract the best minds to address the threats of cyber crime and cyber terrorism. The Innovation Gym helps develop young minds, turning students loose to solve real-world problems under tight deadlines, overcoming intermediate failures as they learn to innovate. By supporting the institute, this gift recognizes the importance of research at the highest level to solve a global challenge. By funding the Innovation Gym, the gift helps to develop the next generation of innovators equipped to solve emerging problems.”

Deason is the founder of Affiliated Computer Systems, launched in 1988 to handle business processes for clients such as E-ZPass, 7-Eleven, United Parcel Service (UPS), the City of Dallas and numerous state and federal agencies. Serving in a variety of executive positions, including as chairman of the board and CEO, Deason took the company public in 1994 and sold it to Xerox for $6.4 billion in 2010.

Previously, Deason worked for the data-processing firm MTech, where he was promoted to CEO at the age of 29. Before joining MTech, Deason worked in data processing for Gulf Oil in Tulsa, having started there as a mail clerk.

“My business career was built on technology services, so clearly the issue of cyber security is something I take very seriously,” Deason said. “The work of the institute will have a far-reaching impact, spanning retail, defense, technology, healthcare, energy, government, finance and transportation – everything that makes our world work.”

Several members of Deason’s family have SMU connections: Deason’s son, Doug, is married to Holly, who is an alumna. Doug’s son, Preston, and Holly’s daughter, Fallon, both currently attend SMU.

The gift counts toward SMU’s Second Century Campaign, which has received more than $800 million toward a $1 billion goal to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience. The campaign continues to work toward raising the number of endowed faculty positions at the University to 110; raising the number of endowed student scholarships to 500; and completing 15 major campus facilities.

Written by Kim Cobb

> Read the full story from SMU News

Tune In: Dean Marc Christensen on KERA’s ‘Think’ Jan. 29, 2014

Marc Christensen, dean of Lyle School of Engineering at SMUMarc Christensen, dean of SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering, will be part of a distinguished panel discussing the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education on KERA 90.1 FM Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. Christensen will join Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Cameron Evans and Kristin Larimore, strategic engagement leader with GE Capital Equipment Finance, on “Think with Krys Boyd” during the noon-1 p.m. hour.

Christensen is a DARPA Young Faculty Award winner and has been recognized at SMU with the Gerald J. Ford Research Fellowship and the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award.

Listen live at kera.org/listen

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