President Kennedy appointed Professor Anderson to succeed Dr. Owen as department head. He was followed by Dr. Jorge Raue in September of 1979. Dr. Raue stayed only one year. Professor Michael Cirovic was appointed acting head July 1, 1980. Although Professor Cirovic was considered a master teacher, a good administrator, a technical author, and a highly paid consultant, he was without a Ph.D. degree. As a consequence, he was not acceptable to the President as a candidate for permanent appointment. Dr. James Harris, upon recommendation of the faculty and the dean of Engineering, was appointed head of the department beginning July 1, 1982.
Since Dr. Harris assumed leadership, strong emphasis has been placed on fund raising, new equipment donation, graduate program promotion, and faculty professional development.
The department's 1987-88 annual report to the dean of Engineering provides the most recently available information on the status of the EL/EE Department. The curricula, the student-teacher interrelationship, the success and achievements of the alumni and the unique campus location have each contributed to the exceptional reputation of the department. As a consequence, the Chancellor's Office declared the EL and EE majors as impacted majors. With impaction, an enrollment base is set and admission is granted to the applicants on an academic merit basis as a percent of the allowable spaces. Top academic students will as a matter of insurance ap~ply to several other prestigious schools as well as Cal Poly. Often they are pressured into an early acceptance by one of these schools. This results, amongst other things, in an under enrollment of new students to the department.
Enrollment has been declining since 1985. For the 1987-88 academic year, matriculating freshman students represented 17 percent of the applicants and matriculating transfer students represented 25.5 percent of applicants. This year saw total enrollments of 259 EE's, 595 EL's and 11 graduate students; 17 percent were in the lower division and 83 percent in the upper division. This separation contrasts rather markedly with the 40 and 60 percent mandated by the master plan (Donahue Act) implemented in 1960. Of the total of 239 degrees granted, 97 B.S. in EE, 186 B.S. in EL and 9 M.S. in EE or EL, 14 percent of the seniors had a GPA of 3.5 or higher; 31 percent ranked between 3.0 and 3,49.
To accomplish its mission, the department was allocated 29.5 faculty positions and 8.5 staff and student assistant positions. Propositions 13 and Gann coupled with the burgeoning population limit the resources necessary to provide quality education by Cal Poly, and in turn the EL/EE Department. The creative foresight, enthusiasm, and energy of Dr. James Harris, department head (1982--1989) has done much to not only maintain a quality operation, but also to enhance the level as well. Through his efforts, an endowment fund has been created (currently amounting to $12,000). It is anticipated that alumni and friends will recognize and solve the challenges California and this nation face as we move into the twenty-first century.
For the 1987-88 academic year nonstate funding reached a new high:
In-Kind Equipment $122,200 (6 participants)
Industry (7 participants) 21,250
Dean's Office 8,000
Scholarships/Fellowships 16,300 (10 participants)
Senior Project 10,000
During the year nineteen faculty and staff received $20,230 toward expenses incurred in attendance at professional meetings or workshops. Starting back in the early 1980's, faculty have been receiving on-campus grants to pursue research and development projects. For 1987-88, six faculty received $82,500 in new grants.
Shortly after his arrival on campus, Dr. Harris became aware of the need to update the physical facilities of the department. He envisioned a faculty office building providing single person offices and laboratories which would accommodate computer facilitated laboratory stations, and interaction between laboratories and offices via local area computer networking. Through his persistent lobbying of officialdom, he has succeeded in his dream. The plans and working drawings are completed and fully budgeted at $4,300,000 to build a two-story office building for the department and remodel the areas in Engineering East (Building 20), which will be utilized by the department's laboratories and support facilities. The office building will be located in the larger quadrangle of Engineering East. The construction is projected to begin with the faculty office building in March 1990. The remodeling of the laboratories is to begin in the summer of 1990, and be completed by the fall of 1991.
The Department Chair Era
Beginning with the 1989-90 academic year, the governance of the Department changed drastically, by the request of the faculty.
Under the new Department Governance, the Department was led by an elected Department Chair, rather than a Department Head. The distinction was an important one – the Department Chair was not only elected by the faculty (and then chosen by the Dean), but was subject to recall by the faculty if he or she was not doing an effective job. Department Heads were appointed by the administration, with minimal faculty involvement.
The Governance also provided for an extensive committee structure to handle such matters as curriculum, the graduate program, facilities and academic policies within the Department. There was also a committee consisting of all of the tenured and probationary faculty (the TPFC) that was chaired by someone other than the elected Department Chair and which served to give the faculty more say in how the Department would be run. Finally there was an Executive Committee consisting of the Department Chair, his or her chosen Associate Chair and the heads of the TPFC and Curriculum Committee. This committee served to allow all of the key constituencies of the Department to meaningfully discuss key matters of the day relative to courses, budget, facilities and the like.
Dr. Harris was elected the first chair of the EE Department under the new governance, for a one-year transitional term; he appointed Dr. Ahmad Nafisi as his Associate Chair. During that first year, an election for a full three-year term was held and there were two candidates. The first was Saul Goldberg. He had been at Cal Poly for a number of years and specialized in power systems. He co-founded and ran the Department’s Electric Power Institute. The second candidate was Marty Kaliski. He had recently arrived at Cal Poly from Northeastern University in Boston and specialized in computer engineering. Both were deemed to be acceptable candidates to the EE faculty.
Dr. Kaliski was chosen by the Dean of Engineering, Peter Lee, to be the first three-year chair under the new Governance rules. He appointed long-time professor Donley Winger to be his associate chair. His term as Department chair ran from 1989-1992
The Computer Engineering Program at Cal Poly
During the 1980’s there had been ongoing discussions concerning the development of a computer engineering program at Cal Poly, jointly administered by the EE and the Computer Science Departments. During this time a formal structure was finally implemented (although it later evolved) and the first B.S. degree in Computer Engineering was awarded in 1988. Its first director was Dr. Harris, who began his four year term in 1993.
Today, the Computer Engineering Program is an accredited program that has its own administrative structure, its own Governance, its own staff, and its own Industrial Advisory Board. It is a thriving program and this is not the place to record its own, unique industry. It is, however important to note that, as a co-founder and major partner in Computer Engineering, the EE Department and its history is intimately tied to that of Computer Engineering. It affected a variety of matters such as budget, curriculum and faculty hiring during the 1990’s and beyond,
The First Term of Dr. Kaliski
Dr. Kaliski served three terms as Department Chair. The first term was from 1989-1992. The remaining terms were from 1995-2001 (see below).
There were a number of key accomplishments during this first term; several are listed below in no particular order of priority.
- The new EE faculty office building finally became a reality, and faculty moved into the building during the latter part of the 1991-1992 academic year
- Email and Fax technology were introduced to the Department and became a core part of its operating infrastructure
- A successful accreditation was prepared for, involving the accreditation of our two programs – electronic engineering and electrical engineering. This involved a significant duplicative effort and it was during the next Department administration that it was finally dealt with (see below)
- The Governance was fully implemented during this first term of Dr. Kaliski’s administration. In particular, numerous committees had to be formed and the elaborate reporting structure had to be developed and made efficient.
- In the immediate years before Dr. Kaliski’s first term, budget matters were essentially entirely handled by the Dean of Engineering’s office, with the Department responsible for managing a small operating expenses budget and its discretionary funds. This changed during Dr. Kaliski’s first term and the Department was responsible for managing a budget of close to $2M annually.
Dr. Saul Goldberg’s Term as Department Chair
Dr. Goldberg served as EE Department Chair from 1992-1995. One of the key accomplishments of his term was the creation of the Department’s Industrial Advisory Council (IAC) – which has since been called the Industrial Advisory Board. This council met once or twice a year and was staffed with interested industry representatives (often alumni). Their role, as a key “constituent” of the Department, was to give us feedback on our programs from an industrial perspective and to key us in to potential funding and employment opportunities from industry.
Another significant accomplishment of the Goldberg administration was the formal elimination of the parallel electrical (EE) and electronic (EL) engineering programs at Cal Poly. This historical vestige of separating power and control systems from the rest of electrical engineering had outlived its usefulness. It was a source of constant confusion for the “rest of the world” and led to duplicative efforts in such things as accreditation. Concurrent with the dropping of the EL degree, the Department assumed a single name “Electrical Engineering”, as opposed to “Electrical and Electronic Engineering”.
During his tenure the Department was hit with one of California’s periodic budget crises and, although we had a balanced budget when he began his term as Department chair, he was forced to leave the Department with a deficit of close to $300,000K in a base budget of slightly over $2M.
Dr, Goldberg did run for a second term and Dr. Kaliski was elected to the first of two consecutive terms, beginning in 1995.