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Janaswamy Named 2013-14 COE Outstanding Teacher

Professor Ramakrishna Janaswamy of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department has been named the 2013-2014 College of Engineering Outstanding Teacher. “Rama's effectiveness as a classroom instructor and dedication to the overall teaching mission of the college are truly appreciated by our students,” said Dean Tim Anderson and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dave Ford in making the announcement. Among other accomplishments, Janaswamy was nominated for the UMass Distinguished Teaching Award in 2011, served as the ECE graduate program director for three years, developed four new graduate courses that were highly rated by students from 2003 to 2012, and has received a very high average of 4.44 out of a maximum 5 for his Student Response to Instruction rating from student evaluations over the last 10 years.

Janaswamy, along with other CoE award winners, will be recognized during the college’s Senior Recognition Celebration on Saturday, May 10.

Janaswamy was also a member of the Academic Standards Subcommittee of the UMass Amherst Graduate Council, including one year as its chair, and was one of 25 U.S. faculty members chosen to conduct a Teach the Teachers workshop in India in 2010. In 2011, he was invited to offer a two-week accelerated course on Fields and Waves to undergrads at KL University in India, and in 2013 received India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Distinguished Foreign Scientist Award, which included the honor of delivering 10 invited lectures at India’s National Aerospace Laboratories.

As one student evaluator said about Janaswamy and his graduate Linear System Theory class, “This is the way a course is supposed to be run. Consistent, challenging homework, fair exams, interesting lecturer.”

Another student evaluator offered a clever and light-hearted glimpse into Janaswamy’s teaching reputation: “In a world where fields of multivariate vector calculus and waves of homework threaten to overrun ECE students, one man dares to make a difference. This summer experience Janaswamy, the man, the mentor, the legend!”

Janaswamy is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and was the recipient of the R. W. P. King Prize Paper Award of the IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation in 1995. For his services to the IEEE Monterey Bay Subsection, he received the IEEE 3rd Millennium Medalfrom the Santa Clara Valley Section in 2000. He is an elected member of the U.S. National Committee of International Union of Radio Science, Commissions B and F. He served as an Associate Editor of Radio Science from 1999 to 2004 and Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology from 2003 to 2006. He is currently an Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation and of the IETE Technical Reviews in India.

Janaswamy’s accomplishments add credence to his definition of his basic philosophy “of giving more importance to substance than style.”

Janaswamy is the author of the book Radiowave Propagation and Smart Antennas for Wireless Communications, Kluwer Academic Publishers, published in 2000. In addition, he is a contributing author in the Handbook of Antennas in Wireless Communications, L. Godara (Ed.), CRC Press, published in 2001, and Encyclopaedia of RF and Microwave Engineering, K. Chang (Ed.), John Wiley & Sons, published in 2005.

Some excerpts from Professor Janaswamy’s own teaching philosophy are very revealing of his approach. As he wrote, “During the early stages of my academic career, I would be in a rush to cover course syllabus so that students became ready for the follow-up courses. But since then I had come to realize that it is far more important to uncover the material than to cover it.”

He added, “I also believe that the role of the instructor is to evoke inquiry in students’ minds apart from imparting knowledge, something that is nicely summarized in the adage: ‘True education is not about providing answers but in being able to ask questions.’”

His research interests include deterministic and stochastic radio wave propagation modeling, analytical and computational electromagnetics, antenna theory and design, and wireless communications. Professor Janaswamy also has vast experience in electromagnetics. He has about 50 journal publications, many of which are single-authored and extensively cited.

Janaswamy received his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering in 1986 from UMass Amherst. He earned his master’s degree in microwave and radar engineering from IIT-Kharagpur in India in 1983 and a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communications engineering from REC-Warangal (now NIT-Warangal) in India in 1981. (March 2014)