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Dean Bardet Delivers State of the College Address

Monday, February 4, 2013

Dean Jean-Pierre Bardet

Dean Jean-Pierre Bardet

In his annual State of the College address February 1, Dean Jean-Pierre Bardet spoke of growth, the pursuit of Tier 1, and the next steps in the strategic planning process for the College.The dean wove a theme of family throughout his speech, using his year-old daughter as an example of why our choices in education and research are important.

"We are a college of engineering that is growing," the dean said. "Our enrollment is higher than it has ever been, 4500 students. Our research funding is too. We are located in the fourth largest urban areas in the US, after New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. We live in a thriving metropolis with countless opportunities to develop new companies and collaborate with industry. Located in the midst of a growing population and booming economy, the College is simply poised to succeed if together we do the right things."

See full transcript

The dean went on to talk about the University's push toward Tier 1 status, and the College of Engineering's role in it. To be a Tier 1 research university, UTA must have:

  • annual restricted research expenditures of $45 million,
  • an endowment of $400 million,
  • 200 Ph.D. graduates each year,
  • a high achieving freshman class, and
  • a high quality faculty.

He explained how those criteria relate to the College of engineering: With research expenditures of $45 million, the College can accomplish much in healthcare, energy, natural resources, and manufacturing, all areas critical to the people of Texas. With a large endowment, the College can attract outstanding faculty and talented students, resulting in more intellectual power for research innovations that help more people. With more Ph.D. graduates, a resulting "innovation ecosystem", in which ideas hatched in the laboratory become products that can be commercialized and in turn generate jobs, will form. A high-achieving freshman class will lead to the retention of bright young minds right here in Texas, fulfilling the College's goals of educating Texas children instead of sending them away. Finally, high-quality faculty bring with them an intellectual environment in which junior faculty and students can come up with great ideas and be inspired to pursue them.

With research expenditures of $45 million, the College can accomplish much in healthcare, energy, natural resources, and manufacturing, all areas critical to the people of Texas.
- Dean Jean-Pierre Bardet

The Dean also looked ahead at his plans for the coming year, most notably taking a "balanced scorecard" approach that will account for six perspectives and allow the strategic plan developed in April 2012 to be implemented. Those perspectives are customers, operations, finances, compliance with UT System regulations, social responsibility, and employees.

The Dean also recognized the outstanding work of faculty and staff in research and teaching, as well as forming relationships outside the College. He wrapped up the speech by describing how his daughter is learning to walk, taking small steps and building on them to go farther. That is what the College is doing, he said, and the small steps are leading to increasingly large successes.

After the speech, Dean Bardet presented five College awards for excellence, described below with their winners.

The Fay van Dam Outstanding Staff Award

The Fay Van Dam Outstanding Staff Award is presented to a member of the support staff whose everyday performance and dedication to the college demonstrates a constant desire to go above what is normally required and accepted.

Gail Paniuski

Gail Paniuski

Fay Van Dam was an administrative assistant for many years in the College of Engineering. Because of her dedication to excellence, the Outstanding Staff Award was changed in 1997 to the Fay Van Dam Outstanding Staff Award in her honor. After she retired, she continued to serve the university as a volunteer with the Alumni Association.

Two staff members, Gail Paniuski from Electrical Engineering and Chris Carter from the Dean's Office, won the Fay Van Dam Outstanding Staff Award in 2013.

Words about Paniuski included: “She goes well beyond what would normally be expected for someone in her position, doing whatever it takes to do the job well and to ensure timely operation. She is a team player and major contributor, striving to serve as an advocate for the department and faculty.”

And a graduate had this to say: “No matter the country or culture, she appreciates and understands the wide variety of students that cross her threshold each semester. She celebrates their accomplishments and offers comfort for their sorrow. Walk into her office, and her love of her job is obvious. She has pictures of students past and present along her walls. Many still send her family pictures and stories of their accomplishments, and she enjoys them as if they were her accomplishments.”

Chris Carter

Chris Carter

Testimonials about Carter included: “Perhaps one of the most impactful attributes that he has is his attitude. He is always willing to help and is very concerned that everything works out as it should. Rarely, if ever, have I heard him make a negative comment. No doubt, we do not fully appreciate all that he does to make our lives at work function smoothly.”

A professor had this to say: “He is reliable, always completing tasks. He is professional, always addressing others appropriately, never talking down to someone, even on the simplest, most obvious issues. He is available. When you call, he is either there to answer or quick to get back to you. He works well under pressure – during the Hard Drive Encryption event in August he was buried, but kept going until the job was successfully completed. On top of all that, he is quietly there, inconspicuously in the background, dealing with IT issues within the College.

Inspiring Employee Award

Brenda Maler

Brenda Maler

The College of Engineering instituted a new award in 2013. The College of Engineering Inspiring Employee Award went to Brenda Maler of the Dean's Office. She has been battling a major illness all year, but during this time she has been an inspiration to those with whom she comes into contact. Despite physical pain and intense medical treatments she has maintained a positive attitude and exhibited strong faith.

She is a loyal employee of the College and also serves in the community by participating in motorcycle events delivering toys to needy children at Christmas.

Early Career Faculty Award

The College of Engineering's Early Career Faculty Award is given to a tenure-track faculty member who, while in the early phases of his or her career, is judged to be our most promising teacher and scholar, based on his or her body of accomplishments since coming to the college.

Vassilis Athitsos

Dr. Vassilis Athitsos

This year's recipient, Vassilis Athitsos of the Computer Science and Engineering Department, has established a truly outstanding record of accomplishments in all three areas of research, teaching and service. Since his arrival at UT Arlington in 2007, he has compiled an outstanding international record of highly acclaimed research in computer vision, human computer interaction, and image and video databases. During this short time, he achieved early tenure and earned an NSF CAREER Award. He has published 14 peer-reviewed journal papers and 43 peer-reviewed conference and workshop papers. He has 2,803 citations and 10 papers with 100 or more citations. To date at UTA, he has received nearly $2 million in research funding as a PI and co-PI.

His teaching record is also stellar. He has five Ph.D. students and three Master's students with theses under his supervision. Student comments about his teaching style are consistently complimentary.

As for his service, at the national level, he serves on review panels for the National Science Foundation on a regular basis. He has co-organized several workshops and been a program committee member for numerous conferences. He is Area Chair for the IEEE International Conference on Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition and was a Guest Editor for the Journal of Machine Learning Research.

Excellence in Research Award

Weidong Zhou

Dr. Weidong Zhou

The College of Engineering Excellence in Research Award. This award is presented to a distinguished faculty member who has demonstrated superior scholarship by advancing the state of knowledge in his or her chosen field of research. A committee of peers selected this person, who best meets the standards of research excellence required of this prestigious award.


This yearss winner, Weidong Zhou of the Electrical Engineering Department, has earned a global reputation in the closely related areas of silicon photonics, large area photonics and optoelectronics, and micro- and nano-scale structures in photonics. His work in these areas has resulted in sustained funding from the Air Force Research Labs and from an Air Force Office of Scientific Research MURI.

He has been granted three U.S. patents, and since joining UT Arlington in 2004, he has brought in more than $4 million.

He has graduated four Ph.D. students and three Master’s students. He has more than 60 journal publications in total, as well as 23 magazine and conference proceeding papers, 29 invited international conference talks, more than 90 contributed conference papers, and 2 book chapters.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Excellence in Teaching Award

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Excellence in Teaching Award winners are distinguished educators who have demonstrated their dedication to the teaching profession by their superior classroom instruction and exceptional interactions with students. Lockheed Martin sponsors the award, in part, to honor Robert Q. Lee, a Lockheed Martin engineer who served for several years on the advisory board for the College of Engineering, helping to raise the quality and reputation of the college’s programs and faculty. 

The Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Excellence in Teaching Award winner was presented by Geeth Chettiar, a member of the College's Board of Advisors and Director of Systems and Software for Lockheed Martin.

Kambiz Alavi

Dr. Kambiz Alavi

This year's winner, Kambiz Alavi from the Electrical Engineering Department, brings his experience in industry to the classroom. He worked for two years at AT&T Bell Laboratories and for five years at Siemens Research and Technology Laboratory.

When he switched gears and decided to become a professor, he brought a breadth of knowledge with him and has ever since dedicated his life to the pursuit of excellence in teaching and research.

He has taught 15 different undergraduate courses and 11 different graduate courses during his tenure at UTA. He has received a number of teaching and research awards. 

In addition to being an excellent teacher, he is a researcher of note as well, having authored or co-authored more than 90 publications. He serves as the associate chair, and plays a major role in the GTA community. He has played a strong role in curriculum development and reform activites that have taken place in the undergraduate program, helping define key concepts, selecting instructors to teach them, and developing laboratory curriculum to practice them.

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