The University Of Alabama System Board Of Trustees recently appointed Murat M. Tanik, Ph.D., to the Wallace R. Bunn Chair of Telecommunications in the UAB School of Engineering. Tanik joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1998 and was named chair of the department in 2013. He is the third person to hold the Bunn chair, which was established by a gift from BellSouth in 1988.
“Murat Tanik is the perfect fit for this prestigious appointment,” says SOE dean Iwan Alexander, Ph.D. “With his years of expertise in telecommunications research and his leadership abilities, he will be able to use this position to create opportunities for collaboration within the university and with external partners.”
A native of Izmir, Turkey, Tanik received his B.S. degree in mathematics and electrical engineering from the Middle East Technical University before moving to the United States, where he earned a master’s degree in computer science and a Ph.D. in computer engineering, both from Texas A&M University.
He would go on to begin a career in research with Arthur A. Collins, who founded Collins Radio Company—an innovative telecommunications firm that designed and produced both short-wave radio equipment as well as equipment for the AM radio industry.
“Life has some strange twists,” Tanik says. “When I started my career in telecommunications, no one could imagine the systems we have today. Now I am once again working with telecommunications research, which is at the heart of 21st century technology.”
UAB is one of five research universities awarded a grant to implement a program that will increase the number of highly trained secondary science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, teachers in the classroom.
The National Math and Science Initiative announced the expansion of the UTeach STEM teacher preparation program made possible by a $22.5 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. UTeach recruits and prepares students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics to enter careers in secondary education by enabling them to earn both a degree in their major and a teaching certification without adding time or expense to their four-year degree program. UAB joins Drexel University, Florida International University, Oklahoma State University and the University of Maryland at College Park as this year's newest program participants.
"UAB is honored and excited to partner in this innovative program to address our state's and nation's urgent need for more highly qualified secondary STEM teachers," said UAB President Ray Watts, M.D. "We look forward to enabling our graduates to impart their passion and knowledge as teachers, equipping their students for rewarding 21st century careers and creating the intellectual capital for our state and nation to thrive in a global knowledge economy."
"This program will have a powerful effect on STEM education in Alabama," said School of Engineering dean Iwan Alexander, Ph.D. "There is a growing need to provide all high school students with strong introductions to science and mathematics. To give them experience in the ingenious use and application of science and mathematics to 'make, build and engineer' things that will improve our lives will reinforce is extremely powerful and will have impact beyond the classroom."
Raymond Thompson, Ph.D., was named the Engineering Council of Birmingham’s Engineer of the Year at the organization’s 55th annual awards banquet.
Thompson earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the School of Engineering, went to Vanderbilt for his Ph.D., then returned to UAB where he taught engineering for nearly 20 years. In 1998 he founded Vista Engineering, a research, development, and consulting firm specializing in materials design and application.
“Ray Thompson is an excellent example of the convergence of scientific knowledge, engineering know- how, business acumen and a can do attitude, all adding up to a UAB engineer,” says School of Engineering Dean Iwan Alexander, Ph.D., who was on hand at the event to present student awards to SOE graduates and undergraduates.
Thompson himself is a former student of the year winner, winning the undergraduate award in 1973 and the graduate award in 1974. Incidentally, Thompson, his brother Neil, and UAB President Raymond Watts, M.D., were undergraduate student engineer of the year winners in consecutive years.
The UAB Department of Biomedical Engineering is expanding its reach, after the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees voted recently to establish Biomedical Engineering as a joint department between the Schools of Engineering and Medicine.
Since 1979, the Department of Biomedical Engineering has resided wholly within the School of Engineering. By integrating the department into the School of Medicine, administrators say they hope to capitalize on existing and emerging strengths in research, education and patient care at UAB.
"Creating a joint department with the School of Medicine marks a natural progression for biomedical engineering at UAB," says Iwan Alexander, Ph.D., dean of the School of Engineering. "The department has long benefited from UAB's reputation for world-class research and education in medicine and health sciences. Making the department a part of both engineering and medicine will bring engineering faculty and students in closer proximity to clinicians and medical research from both schools—which will, in turn, allow them to develop closer relationships through joint research and education programs."