Microelectronics educator receives IEEE's Leon K. Kirchmayer Graduate Teaching Award

John D. Cressler prepares strong microelectronics engineers and inspires students to be social conscious on a daily basis. IEEE honored Cressler with the 2011 Leon K. Kirchmayer Graduate Teaching Award.


John D. Cressler, an educator whose teaching reportedly goes beyond technical concepts to not only prepare strong microelectronics engineers but to also inspire students to be socially conscious, has been honored by IEEE with the 2011 IEEE Leon K. Kirchmayer Graduate Teaching Award. IEEE is allegedly the world’s largest professional association advancing technology.

The award, sponsored by the Leon K. Kirchmayer Memorial Fund, recognizes Cressler for inspirational teaching and student mentoring in the field of advanced microelectronic devices and circuits. The award was presented on February 21, 2011, at the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference, in San Francisco, Calif.

Cressler believes that today’s electrical and computer engineering students must be provided with more than just a strong technical background in the traditional core courses. Known among his colleagues at Georgia Tech, Atlanta, for his approachability and his unlimited patience, Cressler includes unique design experiences within his graduate courses so that students gain exposure to real-world challenges, learn to communicate with diverse audiences, and work together in a team environment to solve complex problems. Cressler also instills his passion for social awareness within his students, examining both the positive and negative aspects of the global micro- and nanoelectronics revolution. According to former students, known to many in industry as “Cressler Students,” Cressler has inspired them to use technology to build a better world and to seek balance in life while they excel professionally. Cressler consistently receives high ratings from student surveys and is admired by students and faculty alike.

Cressler is reportedly considered a leading expert in silicon-germanium heterojunction bipolar transistor technology. This technology opens the door for low-cost but high-performance electronics and systems needed to support ever-increasing global communications needs. The experience he gained in industry prior to starting his teaching career clearly influences his classroom style and philosophy. He has maintained close ties to industry and government sponsors, ensuring that his students’ research has timely impact on the ever-changing communications marketplace. Cressler also serves as faculty mentor for Georgia Tech’s SURE program, which brings top-notch minority undergraduates to the school and incorporates them into research teams for a taste of  what graduate school is all about.

An IEEE Fellow, Cressler’s awards include the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, the C. Holmes MacDonald National Outstanding Teacher Award by Eta Kappa Nu, the Auburn University Birdsong Teaching Award, the IEEE George E. Smith Award, the Georgia Tech Outstanding Faculty Leadership in the Development of Graduate Students Award, and the Class of 1940 W. Howard Ector Outstanding Teacher Award (Georgia Tech’s highest teaching honor).  He received his bachelor’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his master’s and doctorate degrees from Columbia University, New York, NY. Cressler worked with the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, N.Y. prior to joining the faculty at Auburn University, Alabama, in 1992. He joined Georgia Tech’s faculty in 2002, where he is currently the Ken Byers Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.



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- Edited by Amanda McLeman, Control Engineering, www.controleng.com

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