Rodwell – CoE Outstanding Faculty
Every year, the senior class in each degree program in UC Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering selects an outstanding faculty member
Excerpt from COE News article "CoE Announces Outstanding Faculty Award Recipients"
Mark Rodwell joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UCSB in 1988. An elected fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the recipient of IEEE’s David Sarnoff Award for exceptional contributions to electronics, Rodwell teaches several undergraduate core classes, including the junior-level courses Circuits & Electronics I/II (ECE 137A/B).
On paper, the course sequence offers two terms of basic transistor circuit design, but Rodwell says that it provides much more than that, a snapshot of electrical engineering, both theory and design. Students start by learning about transistors and how to use them to process signals. The rest of the way, students learn how to design and build useful working gadgets to do useful, tangible, physical things, such as amplifying signals from a microphone to a speaker to make a public address system. The project requires students to invent, test, debug, fix, and retest. Along the way, students must also review and use quite a bit of math, officially outside the scope of class, that relates to the character of information signals and to the operation of control systems, those which are found in electronics and most modern machinery.
“Students are learning how a great deal of electrical engineering fits together, and on a simple level, what it is all for,” explains Rodwell, whose research group works to extend the operation of electronics, such as semiconductor devices and communications systems, to the highest feasible frequencies. “I hope these classes provided a clearer picture of what senior- and graduate-level courses will cover, and why they might be interested in learning those subjects.”
This year marks the third straight year and the seventh time overall that graduating seniors have selected Rodwell for the Outstanding Electrical Engineering Faculty Award.
“I hope that it means that students are not only learning the material of my classes, but are also getting some sense of their future careers,” said Rodwell.