College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

ECpE’s Kumar and Dickerson named professors at college convocation

Two Iowa State University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) faculty were recognized on Sept. 7 at the College of Engineering Convocation. Professors Ratnesh Kumar and Julie Dickerson were named Harpole Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Northrop Grumman Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, respectively.

ECpE Palmer Department Chair Ashfaq Khokhar said these professorships are a true recognition of both Kumar and Dickerson’s outstanding academic accomplishments.

The two professors were recommended by a committee of their peers in the department. Based on the committee recommendations, Khokhar nominated them for these awards, which were later approved by the Dean of the College of Engineering and the Iowa State University Provost.

“This recognition from my ISU colleagues in the form of Harpole Professorship is humbling. It is indeed an invitation to continuing the lifelong pursuit of academic excellence and an acknowledgement to the vision and generosity of the Harpoles,” Kumar said.

Kumar has been at Iowa State since 2002, where he conducts research in the area of Data, Decisions, Networks and Autonomy, of which he is also the group chair. He is a coauthor of the book Modeling and Control of Logical Discrete Event Systems and is an Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Fellow for contributions to discrete event system modeling, control, diagnosis and applications. Kumar is also a Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Controls System Society, has been featured in IEEE Controls System Magazine article series, People in Control, and is Best Paper Author for the IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering. His research has a citation h-index of 40.

Dickerson’s core research area is bioinformatics, specifically in communications and signal processing. Her main area of focus is applying machine learning methods to understanding gene function and the effects on metabolism. Dickerson has over 100 peer-reviewed publications in journals. She has received the Honor Award for Excellence from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for her work with the barley genome and with plant genome informatics databases. As a program officer at the National Science Foundation, she was the lone engineer in the Biological Sciences Directorate supporting the Advances in Biological Informatics Program. Her research is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  

“I am honored and surprised to receive the Northrop Grumman Professorship, and I would like to thank my colleagues for their support,” Dickerson said.