S.L. Smith: COE Outstanding EE Faculty

Graduating seniors in every undergraduate degree program in UC Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering recognize a faculty member each spring and the Class of 2022’s COE Outstanding Faculty in Computer Engineering is Professor Spencer L. Smith

headshot of smith

Graduating seniors in the electrical engineering program selected Spencer Smith, an associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, to receive the 2022 Outstanding Faculty Award. The news caught Smith off guard.

“I’m surprised,” said Smith, joined the UCSB faculty in July 2018. “I’m relatively new here and still growing my teaching portfolio in ECE. To have the students recognize what I’ve done — amid so much excellent teaching — is surprising, and it’s good to know that I’m doing something right.”

Smith’s research uses state-of-the-art imaging, electrophysiology, and quantitative behavior to reverse-engineer neural circuity. His lab has developed novel multiphoton imaging instrumentation to measure neuronal activity with cellular and synaptic resolution across multiple brain areas simultaneously. This technology provides insights into the principles of neural circuitry and the fundamental computational mechanisms of brain function.

During the past two years, Smith embraced the online resources offered by the university, including Gauchocast, Gauchospace, Nectir, and Zoom, in an effort to maximize student success. He plans to continue using some of those online tools, like asynchronous chat-like functions and recorded lectures, to complement in-class communication and office hours. Smith praised graduating seniors for their perseverance and reminded them that they have developed a strong foundation to learn and adapt on their own.

“Some of the classes you took will be valuable, and other material you won’t use so much. But across all the work, you became independent learners, and hopefully, you found inspiration that can drive you to make impacts,” said Smith. “Keep looking for inspiration and make new connections so that you can explore, grow, and enjoy your careers.”

The UCSB Current "Class of 2022 Selects Outstanding COE Faculty" (full article)

Smith's ECE Profile

Neuroengineering & Neuroscience Lab (SLAB)