Weber Named Vice Provost for Undergraduate Curriculum and Education

Weber and Kandsamy
Weber (left) and Kandasamy

Steven Weber, PhD, professor and department head of electrical and computer engineering, has been appointed Vice Provost for Undergraduate Curriculum and Education, effective January 1, 2023. Paul E. Jensen, PhD, Nina Henderson Provost, announced the appointment in an email to the Drexel University Community last month.

In his new role, Weber will collaborate with academic leaders and stakeholders across Drexel to develop a cohesive strategy for academic programs that positions the University on the cutting edge of undergraduate education.

“[Weber’s] appointment represents a re-envisioning of the vice provost role, with an increased focus on supporting curricular enhancement and innovation and developing infrastructure to support interdisciplinary collaboration,” Jensen wrote. “The Vice Provost for Undergraduate Curriculum and Education will support the Provost’s and University’s academic priorities while setting the vision for a distinctive learning experience for Drexel undergraduates.”

During Weber’s tenure as department head, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) saw progress across graduate and undergraduate programs, research and innovation, and advancing organizational and cultural change. Notable achievements include:

  • The expansion of graduate offerings to include six MS degree programs, notably the MS in Internet of Things, MS in Machine Learning Engineering, and MS in Robotics and Automation, as well as a dramatic improvement in the recruitment and advising of new master's students, thanks to the leadership of Professor John Walsh, associate department head for graduate affairs, and Jana Jacobs, MS program coordinator.
  • The revision of undergraduate program curricula to improve the experience of first- and second-year students and to improve flexibility for junior and senior students.
  • Maintaining a tradition of recruiting excellent faculty, with recent hires including Anup Das, Fei Lu, and Lifeng Zhou.
  • A continued extensive portfolio of impactful research, from grants and publications to the graduation of doctoral students and international visibility of several faculty within their research disciplines.
  • Intentional collective work to build on the department’s positive culture and deploy processes that ensure fairness and transparency, including ongoing development and refinement of processes including but not limited to faculty standing committee nomination and election, to course teaching assistant assignment.
  • Dedicated staff whose daily efforts contribute to the success of the department, faculty and students
  • Support of vibrant student groups like CyberDragons and the IEEE Student Chapter that offer rewarding engagements to help students feel a sense of community and belonging.

“It has been a privilege and honor to serve as department head of ECE,” Weber said. “Together with our incredible faculty, our dedicated staff and our amazing students, we have made strides as a department on several fronts. None of these accomplishments were by me alone; they were all done as a collective effort. I have every confidence that ECE will continue its positive trajectory to even greater heights in the near future.”

In Weber’s place, College of Engineering Dean Sharon L. Walker, PhD, announced that Naga Kandasamy, PhD, professor of ECE, will serve as interim department head, effective January 1, 2023.

Kandasamy has a history of providing leadership in the ECE department, having served most recently as associate department head for undergraduate affairs from 2018-2022, as well as associate department head for graduate affairs from 2015 to 2018. During his time as associate department head, ECE launched a successful high school summer student institute, with four full days of remote learning about programming and hardware microcontroller concepts.

“It is my great honor to serve the ECE department as interim department head, and I am excited to work with the ECE faculty and staff to build on the department's current momentum,” Kandasamy shared. “I am strongly committed to maintaining an environment that fosters inclusion and diversity across ECE, from faculty and staff to the student body."