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Case Honors Boye as Nebraska Professor of the Year

As an NU undergraduate in 1964, John Boye remembers the dirt parking lot located where the Walter Scott Engineering Center now stands. In the middle of the lot was a small shack occupied by a man who raised chickens.

“The challenging thing about parking there was trying to avoid hitting one of the chickens,” Boye recalled, reflecting on a memory that seems far removed from the NU campus and technology of today.

After nearly 30 years at the University of Nebraska, Boye, associate professor and interim chair of electrical engineering, has been honored for his teaching and influence on students. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named him the 2000 Nebraska Professor of the Year, out of 16 nominees from the state.

“Wow,” was Boye’s reaction. “I knew I was a candidate, but I didn’t really expect that I would get it, so I was very pleased, very happy.”

As a student at Lincoln Southeast High School, Boye said his favorite class was math. “I had a couple of really good math teachers. I was good in math and I liked math.”

He said when he came to NU, he knew he wanted to study a math-related subject and that turned out to be electrical engineering. Boye said the teaching bug bit him when he had a chance to instruct labs as an undergraduate.

He received his bachelor’s in electrical engineering in 1968, and his master’s in 1973. He left Nebraska to work for the Hughes Aircraft Co. in Culver City, Calif., for one year. He returned to Nebraska in 1974 and earned his doctorate at NU in 1984. Boye was an instructor all the while, from 1970-72 and 1974-84, a visiting assistant professor from 1984-85, an assistant professor from 1985-91 and associate professor and assistant chair from 1992-2000, becoming interim chair in July. He is also the author of a history book on the department.

Over his 29-year career at the university, he has taught more than 4,000 electrical engineering students. His teaching philosophy is simple.

“I try to look at the material as if a student looking at it for the first time,” he said. “What am I assuming is that the student may not understand or may not have the background enough to assume. Bringing forth the potential of our students outweighs most anything else that I can do. It is what will have the most lasting effect.”
His approach to the complex subject has earned him a reputation with his students.

“I’ve had a lot of teachers that were always really smart, but weren’t very good at relating the information to students,” said Christopher Lawson, a senior engineering major. “Dr. Boye made it easy to follow and he talks to you as if you’re a person. He actually interacts with the class.”

Boye said teaching excellence depends on three things: “Thorough preparation; understanding that learning is dependent on building on previous knowledge; and sensitive, aware and dedicated relationships with students both in the classroom and one-on-one.” Boye also has contributed to curriculum changes in the department by developing numerous courses and labs.

Boye said he can’t think of a better job and he enjoys the student interaction. Because many take several of his classes, he gets to know them well.

“The hardest part of my job occurs twice a year and that’s in December and May when students graduate and leave. I hate to see them go,” Boye said. But he does take a lot of satisfaction in the successes his students have once they leave Nebraska. “Generally speaking, (the graduates) will go to larger companies like Intel, Motorola or perhaps power companies like NPPD, OPPD, LES.”

In addition to this most recent honor as 2000 Nebraska Professor of the Year, Boye has also received numerous awards in his career, including the University of Nebraska Distinguished Teaching Award in April 2000 and Outstanding Departmental Faculty Awards for 1999-2000 and several other previous years.

“The university is very pleased and proud that Professor Boye has been recognized for his teaching skills,” said interim chancellor Harvey Perlman. “His recognition emphasizes again that quality teaching remains an important ingredient in the NU experience.”

The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education established the Professors of the Year program in 1981 and works in cooperation with the Carnegie Foundation and various higher education associations in the award’s administration. CASE is the largest international association of educational institutions, with nearly 2,900 colleges, universities and independent elementary and secondary schools.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a policy center in Palo Alto, Calif., is devoted to strengthening America’s schools and colleges.

— Kim Davis

Adamchuk, Stowell Join Faculty

Viacheslav Adamchuk and Richard Stowell have joined the Biological Systems Engineering Department faculty.

Adamchuk comes from Purdue, where he received his Ph.D. in agricultural and biological engineering. Originally from the Ukraine, his research work is in the area of sensor development for precision farming. Adamchuk’s research activities include applications of GIS and remote sensing as well as analysis of site-specific farming technologies. Phone: (402) 472-8431; e-mail: vadamchuk2@unl.edu.

Formerly assistant professor and extension engineer at The Ohio State University, Stowell received his Ph.D. in agricultural engineering from Michigan State University. His research focuses on the characterization of animal environments, primarily for dairy cattle in hot conditions. He also works on animal waste handling and storage systems. Phone: (402) 472-3912; e-mail: rstowell2@unl.edu.

Bits ‘N Bytes

• Maher Tadros and Christopher Tuan, civil engineering, have received a U.S. patent on tension members for erecting structures. The invention has specific applications in bridge building.

• Kamlakar Rajurkar was elected Fellow in the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Rajurkar is Milton E. Mohr Professor in the Industrial and Management Systems Engineering Department.

• “Light Reading,” an online optical networking industry magazine, interviewed Byrav Ramamurthy for an article on Nortel Networks Corporation. Ramamurthy is assistant professor in computer science and engineering. The article is available at <http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=2409>

• Susan Hallbeck, industrial and management systems engineering, was one of 40 women engineers selected from among more than 200 applicants nationwide to attend the first Women’s Engineering Leadership Conference sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

• New grant awards more than $100,000 — Patrick McCoy, civil engineering, “Smart Work Zone Deployment Initiative — Year Two.” $244,797. Sponsor: Nebraska Department of Roads. Samy Elias, industrial and management systems engineering, and Maher Tadros and Sameh Badie, civil engineering, “Utilization of Fly Ash in Reinforced Concrete — Transportation Applications.” $127,052. Sponsor: Marshall University Research Corp.


NU’s remote sensing scientists have acquired a single-engine Piper Saratoga for research and instruction. The airplane will be modified to accommodate experimental sensor technology being developed by Ram Narayanan, Donald Rundquist and others. The plane was purchased with funds from a National Science Foundation EPSCoR grant.

There's No Place Like Home

“Toto...I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore...”

Staff members in biological systems engineering dressed up in Oz costumes for last fall’s Homecoming celebration in Lincoln.

From left: Ardis Burkholder, Belinda Gillam, Rene Gellatly and Amy Fisher.

The department took third place in the Homecoming Decoration contest.