Baylor University School of Engineering and Computer Science

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Baylor University School of Engineering and Computer Scienceof,and

ECS Board of Advocates Waco, Texas

    Fall Meeting, 2005 October 14, 2005

    Baylor University

    School of Engineering and Computer Science

    Board of Advocates

    Fall Meeting October 14, 2005

    Baylor University

    Board members attending: Joe Cestari, Mike Ingrim, Larry Johnson, Jim McDonough, Bill Mearse, Clell Oravetz, Rita Patterson, Bill Ratfield, Dan Richter, Shawn Sedate, Steve Smith,

    Dean Swisher, Harold Spangler, Trent Voigt, Matt Watson

    Board members absent: Robert Kincaid, Rick Maule, Craig Nickell, Brian Sheets, Doug Verret

    Others attending: Steve Eisenbarth, Dean Ben Kelley, Jim Farison, Don Gaitros, Bill Jordan, Leigh Ann Marshall, Pete Maurer, Bill Poucher Ashley Thornton, Cheryl Tucker and various faculty from the School of Engineering and Computer Science. Additionally, Melody Bonham and Bernard Lam, engineering students, made a joint presentation to the Board.


    Following a continental breakfast, Bill Mearse convened the meeting. He introduced the new Board members (Joe Cestari and Jim McDonough). He also introduced former Baylor football Coach Grant Teaff. Coach Teaff welcomed the Board of Advocates to Baylor University.

Dean’s Report

Dean Kelley began the morning’s academic presentations.

Summary: Topics within the focus of the Dean’s presentation included: ECS Personnel; Under-

    graduate Enrollment; Student Recruitment & Retention; Graduate Enrollment; Rankings; and 2005-06 Initiatives.

    ; Personnel- Dr. Jordan joined the faculty as Mechanical Engineering Chair; two faculty

    and a staff member resigned; staff member Mr. Matt Aars was appointed as a lecturer;

    searches are underway for two staff and one faculty positions.

    ; Undergraduate enrollment increased this fall to 552 after three years of decline; 198 new

    freshman enrolled which is the second highest over the last five years; SAT scores for

    freshmen entering this fall is 1255, the higest level ever and 58 points above the Baylor

    average; recruitment initiatives, such as the academy program are paying dividends; the

    Board is a useful resourse in student recruitment.

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ECS Board of Advocates Waco, Texas

    Fall Meeting, 2005 October 14, 2005

    ; Retention initiatives include in-class and out-of-class efforts as well as a new early-alert

    system; the ECS LLC has a positive impact on retention; other student life systems play

    an important role in a sense of belonging.

    ; Graduate student application are down for virtually every degree program; an

    undergraduate research conference and community contacts are planned to assist in gen-

    erating more applicants and students; new ideas and efforts are required to make im-

    provements in this area, and are a high priority. thst; The schools ranking dropped from 14 to 21 in the US News rankings; the score ththdropped from 3.2 to 3.1; ECS has been ranked from 14 to 26 over the past seven years.

    ; Important ECS initiatives include: facilities needs assessment; hosting the ACM ICPC

    World Finals; inserting global and business topics into the curriculum; assessment and

    the upcoming ABET/EAC visit; a new science-engineering-technology career fair; de-

    veloping the new ECS-Honors tracks; and faculty tenure reviews. The first four of these

    are major agenda items for this Board meeting.

    The full presentation is available at .

    Following the Dean’s report, Dr. Peter Maurer led the Board in a discussion about facilities ex-pansion. He explained that a committee within the School of Engineering and Computer Science is currently discussing related ideas and issues. Feedback from the Board of Advocates included:

     1. Asking about University support for such initiative;

     2. Admonishing the School to ―build on strengths‖ and ―don’t overextend.‖ Expansion

    should be built on the ―base…of mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and computer science;‖

     3. Wondering about the physical shape of a building addition or additional building;

     4. ECS is one of the ―expensive stars‖ of the University. The students are the brightest who also don’t pay a fair share of the overall University tuition. However, raising the academic level of ECS will serve to raise the academic level of the University as a whole;

     5. Admonishing the School to ―position itself internally—within the University‖ in addition to raising awareness outside of the University;

     6. Suggesting the School look at existing resourcesbuildings at Baylor or other buildings

    off site that could be used for labs;

     7. Observing that, for recruiting purposes, facilities ought to be ―fancy.‖

     8. Remembering the history of the sciences (pre-med, especially) and the need to build upon the engineering and computer science programs. (They’re new and small but growing.)

     9. Observing that the differentiator for engineering/pre-med is problem solving. While GPA used to be of highest importance; today, having a biomedical degree is more useful.

     10. Sharing a ―when-to-build‖ formula: The best time to build a new plant is when behind in production, not ahead. Build a market first. Ask customers what they want.

     11. Observing that graduate students are needed to ―push the envelope‖ of program development;

     12. Promoting the notion to the local community (educators, parents, and students) that our economy is based on innovation, not mass production in another country;

     13. Promoting Baylor’s existing current world class facilities.

    Following the facilities expansion discussion, Dr. Bill Poucher gave a presentation to the Board about the International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals, to be hosted by Baylor

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ECS Board of Advocates Waco, Texas

    Fall Meeting, 2005 October 14, 2005

    University in April, 2006. The contest pits teams of three university students against eight or more complex, real-world problems, with a grueling five-hour deadline. Huddled around a single computer, competitors race against the clock in a battle of logic, strategy and mental endurance.

    Teammates collaborate to rank the difficulty of the problems, deduce the requirements, design test beds, and build software systems that solve the problems under the intense scrutiny of expert judges. For a well-versed computer science student, some of the problems require precision only. Others require a knowledge and understanding of advanced algorithms. Still others are simply too hard to solve except, of course, for the world’s brightest problem-solvers.

Judging is relentlessly strict. The students are given a problem statement not a requirements

    document. They are given an example of test data, but they do not have access to the judges’ test data and acceptance criteria. Each incorrect solution submitted is assessed a time penalty. You don’t want to waste your customer’s time when you are dealing with the supreme court of com-

    puting. The team that solves the most problems in the fewest attempts in the least cumulative time is declared the winner.

To learn more about the ICPC, please visit or

Morning Breakout Sessions

    Computer Science Session

    Advocates present: Joe Cestari, Larry Johnson, Bill Mearse, Clell Oravetz, Shawn Sedate, Harold Spangler, Dean Swisher, Trent Voigt, and Matt Watson,

    I. Competitive Learning Initiative

     Dr. Greg Hamerly and Dr. David Sturgill have started three 1-hour credit courses designed for students interested in the programming contest. Dr. Hamerly presented an overview of the course which centers on problem-solving and team-building skills. The goal is to become competitive in the international competition. At UCSD in 1999, Dr. Hamerly began working on developing a course for competitive programming. He has experience as a student participant and as a team coach. UCSD had local competitions within the university and had good turnouts and sponsor-ships from industry. The course will provide computer science students with the opportunity for more programming and problem-solving. There are three sections-beginning, intermediate and advanced. We have students from sophomore to senior level this semester. Dr. Hamerly distrib-uted a handout of typical contest problems, one from last year at Shanghai and one developed for this course. In the course, Drs. Hamerly and Sturgill give students 2-6 problems throughout the 3 hours in the course period. They are having local contests now at Baylor and wish for this to continue to grow.

Mr. Bill Mearse commented that companies don’t hire programmers, they hire problem-solvers,

    and the team aspect of this course is very valuable. The board members expressed their agree-ment with the importance of this course.

    Dr. Sturgill pointed out that the students have had to think about solutions to 27 problems al-ready in this course this semester. He discussed how this course fits in with computer science curriculum and how he deals with different levels of students. They are able to focus on and de-

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ECS Board of Advocates Waco, Texas

    Fall Meeting, 2005 October 14, 2005

    velop a set of skills they are not exposed to in the regular computer science courses. They are developing students’ ability to work as a team and communicate about different, difficult, tech-

    nical aspects of a problem. The professors are able to model approaches of how to solve a prob-lem. One benefit of the course is to help the Baylor programming team be prepared for the Regional Contest. The Baylor team was chosen earlier in the week, and students chosen will go to Baton Rouge to compete. Continuing needs: Resources for students, support for cost of trips for sponsors and teams.

    Dr. Gaitros asked the board members whether a student with this course on his/her transcript would they be more likely to be hired. The board all agreed that yes, they would. Reasons: prob-lem-solving skills, team work experience, and the student demonstrating he/she is a self-starter who goes above and beyond the required course-work.

    Dr. Poucher described the Competitive Learning Center at Jiao Tong University in Shanghai. It has been 8 years since a U.S. team won the international competition. The top 12 have been from

    uni-regions all over the world. The U.S. has slipped in ratings in the last 2 years. United States versities need to put more emphasis on this.

II. Proposed BSCS Curriculum

     Dr. Jeff Donahoo presented the proposed changes to our BSCS curriculum, and Dr. Greg Speegle presented the Senior Capstone Course, CSI 4399.

It is hoped to be approved later this semester.

    The Board members looked at computer science program objectives and the need to constantly be revising the program to offer what is needed. The update will emphasize critical topics and key concepts and give greater emphasis on mastering technology life cycles. Board Response: there is a demand for networking knowledge.

    There will be a new algorithms course, changes in the database course and a consolidation of theory courses. Numerical methods (3324), simulation models (3333) and survey or program-ming languages (3331) were removed from the core, but may still be offered. Foundations of computing (3330) morphed into theory course. Principles of Software Design (3342) integrated in software engineering and 3335 and 4335 (database courses) integrated into the new senior capstone course. The board members were encouraged to communicate any projects or ideas of interest for senior projects.

    The senior capstone course will address not only the need for a capstone experience as identified by assessment, but will address a requirement for ABET accreditation and an opportunity for consideration of computer science graduates for professional software engineering certification in the State of Texas.

The Senior Capstone Experience Requirements are:

    1) Create a senior-level artifact,

    2) Apply technologies not covered in course work,

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ECS Board of Advocates Waco, Texas

    Fall Meeting, 2005 October 14, 2005

3) Demonstrate core computer competency,

    4) Apply time, personnel, and financial management techniques,

    5) Make oral and written technical presentations.

    The board members agreed that an additional cultural course in place of Foreign Language credit would be valuable to computer science majors.

Engineering Session


    Faculty Board of Advocates

    Dick Campbell Mike Ingrim

    Bob Doty Jim McDonough

    Russ Duren Craig Nickell

    Jim Farison Rita Patterson

    Don Farris Bill Ratfield

    Brian Garner Dan Richter

    Randall Jean Steve Smith

    Bill Jordan

    Carolyn Skurla

    Brian Thomas

    Ken Van Treuren

    Jim Farison described the reasoning behind dividing into an Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and a Mechanical Engineering Department, and some of the process involved in making this change. He then introduced Dr. Jordan, the Mechanical Engineering Chair, to lead the session.

    Bill Jordan briefly gave his educational and teaching background and the history behind his coming to Baylor. He passed out copies of the most recent issue of Baylor Magazine to the

    Board of Advocate Members because the cover article is about the Curves project.

    Bill Jordan discussed the SACS accreditation, and the process of preparing for a visit from A.B.E.T. in about a year.

    Dr. Farison explained the division of the departments of electrical and mechanical engineering. Other than the budget designations, the division seems to be complete across campus. Now there is ―twice the leadership‖ for the engineering disciplines.

    Dr. Jordan gave a brief biography of himself. He said that he wanted to spend some time talking about the things ME and EE had in common:

    ; 1301

    ; 3380

    ; 4390

    ; Curves project (featured in the Baylor Magazine, passed out copies to board members)

    ; accreditation

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ECS Board of Advocates Waco, Texas

    Fall Meeting, 2005 October 14, 2005

    o SACS university wide sto ABET engineering only, this will be our 1 accreditation since the division of

    ME and EE

    Carolyn Skurla described what they do in EGR 1301. They introduce mechanical and electrical and computer engineering and do a hands-on design project, plus other hands-on labs. She ex-plained the strategy that they are using to accommodate the large freshman class this fall.

    Steve Smith talked about retention problems, and Carolyn Skurla explained about the First Alert System, and that Rishi is working to help with students who have been identified as struggling. Steve Smith said that it is really important not to give up on ―kids‖ too quickly.

    Brian Thomas said that in working with the students in EGR 1301, they try to address adjust-ments and general needs of the freshman students. He said that we need to also address the needs of the very bright students. He asked the question, how do you keep the brightest from getting bored? The goal is to nurture along those who are struggling. It is difficult to achieve the balance between helping those who are struggling because they are behind, and keeping the interest of those who are really bright and becoming bored.

    Ken Van Treuren said that we used to lose ten percent of the top students. There is a wide dis-parity between entering students. He explained the University Scholars program, and that it al-lows students who have interests in three or four areas, to explore them all. These students could walk into any area and succeed.

    Brian Thomas said that one thing they are doing is encouraging students to work together and to have a homework partner. They are encouraging the students who understand to help the ones who are struggling. Brian also talked about the example of one of our very bright students who is graduating this December. Sarah Gibson wasn’t sure that engineering is what she would want

    to do for the rest of her life, but realized that even if she eventually goes into another field, an Engineering degree is very marketable.

    A question was raised by one of the Board of Advocates about how many we retain from their freshman year through graduation? Someone said that we had about one hundred start four years ago, and forty graduated last year. It was stated that the last couple of years we have had an in-crease in the freshman retention rate which will hopefully translate into a higher graduation rate.

    The question was raised about if there has been a noticeable effect from the change in the SAT? The consensus is that it is not clear yet what the effect of that change will be.

    One of our faculty said that we need assurance of the value of the junior and senior design courses because they cost a lot, and they take a lot of effort and energy from the faculty who are teaching them.

    One of the board members said that the Senior Design project is very key. Steve Smith said that his company had funded one of the Senior Design projects and were very pleased with the result.

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ECS Board of Advocates Waco, Texas

    Fall Meeting, 2005 October 14, 2005

Junior Design

    Brian Thomas talked about what they do in Junior Design. He said that the professors who are team teaching the course come up with a project that is Electromechanical. He talked about a project that they did last year that involved a solar panel that provided energy to power a water pump. The students in Junior Design are broken up into approximately six teams of four or five. They design their won version of the project, and the professors try to keep the groups separate so that the designs are unique to each group. They are doing a fishing project this fall. The em-phasis in class is correct procedure. The groups get practice in documentation, verbal presentations and a written report.

Senior Design

    Bob Doty said that Senior Design is a capstone course that is taken by students who are gradu-ating. In the class they do a project and in the organization of the project and management ex-perience they try to copy an industrial model. The students work with venders, design, build and test the project. A lot of times they have a project sponsored through Industry such as Curves, Bell Helicopter, Trinity Industries, and Raytheon (now L-3). They stress, ―Performance, on time,

    and in the money‖. They try to keep the class sections at fifteen to twenty students. Dr. Doty mentioned that the final design presentation for the Fall 2005 Senior Design Class was that afternoon, Friday, October 14, 2005 at 3:00 p.m., if anyone was available to attend.

    Randall Jean said that last spring the members of the Senior Design Class had been mostly me-chanical engineers. He said that it is exciting to see the maturity of the students when they come out. The course offers a whole new dynamic.

    Jim Farison talked about a Senior Design project a couple of years ago where there was a prob-lem when part of the project had been contracted out, and the vendor didn’t get the part back on

    schedule. The students took responsibility and said that they learned from the experience, instead of placing blame on the vendor.

Someone commented that that this situation comes up in industry also.

    Steve Smith talked about his experience with the Senior Design Class when they worked on a G.P.S. He said that everyone from his company were impressed with our students when they met with them to work on this project.

    Jim Farison said that another benefit of working with an industrial sponsor for Senior Design is that the students know it is a real project.

    Brian Thomas said that Junior Design has to keep track of their budget. No book is required, and so they have a budget of $100.00 for each student.

    Jim Farison said that we were faced with the problem of how to grow and maintain the quality of the education we are offering.

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ECS Board of Advocates Waco, Texas

    Fall Meeting, 2005 October 14, 2005

    Brian Thomas said that if growth continues we will struggle to have enough sections to accommodate all the students.

The question was raisedwhat should be the class size limit?

    The consensus seemed to be that lecture classes could be bigger, but labs and Junior Design and Senior Design should not grow from their present size.

    We have to consider what we want to look like when making considerations about how to grow. We might need to consider placing a limit on enrollment, or hiring more faculty.

    Ken Van Treuren said that lab space is a problem when you get into bigger classes, and you have to face the question that if you have more labs do you go to having graduate students teach labs, which we haven’t done in the past.

    Bill Ratfield said that having too large of classes and having them taught by a TA, isn’t what we want to go to.

    It was mentioned that if we get too big what will be our draw as opposed to UT or A & M?

    Someone said that when we raised admission requirements that enrollment actually went up because it attracted better students.

    Jim Farison said that we have a new Honors track for Engineering being included in the upcom-ing catalog. It requires four more hours.

    Mechanical Engineering Session


    Faculty Board of Advocate Members

Bill Jordan Mike Ingram

    Brian Garner Rita Patterson

    Bob Doty Steve Smith

    Carolyn Skurla

    Ken Van Treuren

    Bill Jordan began the Mechanical Engineering Session by passing out some handouts.

    These handouts were titled: Mechanical Engineering at Baylor University, Program Educational Objectives; Draft Program Criteria for Mechanical and Similarly Named Engineering Programs; Proposed Changes to Mechanical Engineering Curriculum Fall 2005; and the Mechanical Engineering Major flow chart.

    Bill Jordan discussed the Mechanical Engineering at Baylor University Program Educational Objectives. He stated that the first three objectives will be the same in any Mechanical

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ECS Board of Advocates Waco, Texas

    Fall Meeting, 2005 October 14, 2005

    Engineering program, but that the fourth objective is unique to Baylor University because it is a Christian University.

The Expected Graduate Outcomes letters AK are specific outcomes that are ABET


Each discipline has objectives that are ABET requirements. The handout titled, DRAFT Program

    Criteria for Mechanical and Similarly named Engineering Programs, is a proposed change for Mechanical Engineering Programs.

    Steve Smith said that the new proposed wording reads better than the old one.

    Bill Jordan said that just because they no longer require linear algebra, we won’t drop that requirement. We don’t want to soften our program.

    Rita Patterson said that it was very important to have problem solving, computer science logic and programming and presentation skills.

    Mike Ingram said that Engineering as a profession is something that we want to continue to pro-mote. There is a difference between a Professional Engineer, and a technologist.

    Ken Van Treuren discussed possible changes to EGR 4335, the Mechanical lab which is a cap-stone class for Mechanical Engineers. He said that the course stresses writing, designing, build-ing and testing a project. It has been taught in the Senior year. There has been a proposal to in-corporate the important things that are being taught in this course earlier in the program and to eliminate the course from the curriculum.

    Brian Garner discussed the controls class being taught in a more relevant way for Mechanical Engineering Students. There has been a proposal to combine Signals & Systems, and Controls and teach it geared towards ME’s.

The handout, Proposed Changes to ME Curriculum was referred to.

Rita Patterson asked if we noticed that a lot of women students were leaving because they didn’t

    see the purpose for certain classes. She expressed that she thought female students would favor a hands-on perspective wanting to see how you do things.

    Ken Van Treuren said that the majority of the women who were in the last graduating class had less of a hands-on orientation.

    Carolyn Skurla stated that the women students who are working on the Curves project are getting hands on experience as early as their Freshman year.

    The general consensus of both Board of Advocate members and Faculty was that the more hands on experience students have the better the outcome.

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ECS Board of Advocates Waco, Texas

    Fall Meeting, 2005 October 14, 2005

    Rita Patterson asked if we could stress incorporating writing skills earlier.

    Ken Van Treuren said that in his labs he requires each student to write up his own lab report because the more writing experience they have the better they get.

    Bill Jordan said that a Sophomore hands-on lab would be good to add. It would be good to have students participating in something hands-on every year.

    It was stated that we have some resource issues to work out because we need more labs, staffing, etc.

    One of the Board members said that the students need solid experience and to make sure that we don’t fragment labs so much that they don’t learn what they need to learn. It was stressed that

    the students need to study statistics.

It was stated that a Mechanicals Systems class is a good idea.

    It was also stated that we are looking at replacing C++ course 1430 with a Mat Lab simulink. Also that we have a lot of ideas but don’t want to make too many changes before ABET.

    Electrical Session

    Dr. Farison stated that he didn’t know what all our resources will be but that Baylor’s budget is stressed. Asked all to look over the curriculum handout and offer comments or questions.

    Dr. Farison asked board members present (Bill Ratfield, Dan Richter, James McDonough) to introduce themselves and briefly state what they do.

    He then asked faculty present (Russ Duren, Randall Jean, Mike Thomas [Brian Thomas later]) to introduce themselves and state their field of interest.

Dan Richter said there looked to be like a good mix of curriculum. Said that his company’s

    (Baytec International) new hires lack hands-on experience, and he’s glad to see our students

    getting that in 4390 and other lab project classes. He stated that the earlier the student develops their passion, the better the employee they become. Discussion followed about the technical curriculum, such as programming and circuit design.

In summary, Dr. Farison asked, ―Are we on track?Dan Richter again stated that students must

    develop their passion early and that we need to help them find and develop it. Bill Ratfield stagreed and said the 1 2 yrs of college is critical. Mr. Ratfield continued that the best way to help them develop their passion is to do it in a way that the students are having fun.

    James McDonough said that the student needs to know what the profession and degree is. Dan Richter suggested letting the kids have access to labs early on to learn on their own with their own projects in order to develop passion. Brian Thomas felt the best way to help them find passion is to get into their world in the labs. There was general agreement.

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