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Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Rowland Earns Sharp Professorship

Published on June 21st, 2013 by Michelle Ward

EECS Professor Jim Rowland received the 2013 John E. and Winifred E. Sharp Professorship, which is selected by a School of Engineering faculty committee. The three-year honor includes an annual personal award of $5,000 and access to an additional $5,000 annually for instructional development.

Dr. Rowland teaches courses in circuits, signals and systems, control systems, and probability and statistics.

“Dr. Rowland’s greatest strength is his ability to capture his students’ attention and keep them both engaged and entertained,” wrote Robert Knight (BSEE ’13) in his letter of support. “His lighthearted attitude puts students at ease, creating a low-stress environment where we feel comfortable speaking up.”

Knight, who had Dr. Rowland for multiple classes, would often stop by his office for help on homework. He notes Dr. Rowland’s open-door policy and his ability to explain complex problems. He acknowledged that Dr. Rowland’s special computer projects helped students gain a working knowledge of critical computer programs, such as Matlab.

EECS Professor James Rowland (left) receives the Sharp Professorship from Interim Dean Stan Rolfe.
EECS Professor James Rowland (left) receives the Sharp Professorship from Interim Dean Stan Rolfe.

Reba Liggett (BSEE ’13) had four courses with Dr. Rowland. She is impressed by how much she retains from his Circuits II course over two years ago. In her letter of support, she wrote that “material, which seems daunting at first, is brought to a level of understanding that is easily digested by his students.”

According to Liggett, Dr. Rowland treats his students as equals in the classroom and instills confidence in them, which makes it much easier to learn difficult concepts.

“Of all of the professors I have encountered throughout my college career, he is the one I will remember the most,” wrote Liggett.  “When I encounter a problem with a control system on a project at work, I know I’ll be able to handle it because of what I’ve learned from Dr. Rowland.”

Former IEEE president Luke Ezell (BSEE ’13) said Dr. Rowland was an invaluable resource for the student organization. Serving as IEEE Student Branch Counselor for over 25 years, Dr. Rowland has tremendous knowledge of the organization and could point Ezell in the right direction. While he retired from the counselor position last year, his imprint his still felt on the electrical and computer engineering student organization.

Dr. Rowland works to improve engineering education within the Department, School of Engineering, and across the nation. He is affiliated with the American Society for Engineering Education and ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology).