Posted September 25, 2007

Dennis Silage honored with national teaching award for engineering education


Electrical and Computer Engineering’s Dennis Silage has been honored with the National Outstanding Teaching Award by the American Society for Engineering Education.

The award, which recognizes an engineering educator for excellence in outstanding classroom performance and contributions to the scholarship of teaching, was presented at ASEE’s annual conference held in Hawaii this past June.

Silage was honored for his significant pedagogical innovations in undergraduate analog and digital communications, capstone senior design and high school outreach programs.

“This is quite an honor because the award is for educators in all engineering disciplines,” said Silage, who joined Temple’s engineering faculty in 1984 and is director of the System Chip Design Laboratory in the College of Engineering. “I was being judged by my peers and I am pleased to receive this recognition.”

Silage was eligible for the national award by being chosen to receive the ASEE’s Middle Atlantic Section Distinguished Teacher Award in 2006. He was selected for the national honor from among those award winners representing ASEE’s 12 sections across the country.

At Temple, Silage, whose expertise is in digital communications systems, teaches upper-division undergraduate and graduate engineering courses. He also has developed a new curriculum that couples the traditional analytical approach with simulation for further insight and motivation, and has authored a textbook, Digital Communication Systems Using SystemVue. In addition, Silage has extended his teaching of digital communications to an outreach program for high school students.

“My philosophy as a teacher is that I am preparing students in a technical area and I have to ensure that they are ready for professional practice,” said Silage. “This award is for undergraduate education, and I am very proud that the students we educate here in Temple’s engineering programs can have a satisfying professional career or attend graduate school.”

Silage said that he enjoys the interplay with his students. “I like them to challenge me and I certainly like to challenge them.”

In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, Silage also supervises doctoral students. He currently has two, one of whom was a Temple engineering undergraduate.

“I am pleased about that,” he said. “We were able to bring him up through the undergraduate ranks and into the graduate program, where he will now likely be defending his dissertation for a Ph.D. in the spring.”

Prior to joining Temple, Silage served as assistant and associate professor of bioengineering at the School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania, where he contributed to research into the anatomical, neurological and metabolic control of ventilation, the assessment of clinical pulmonary mechanics and the use of computer graphics in pulmonary function testing.

At Temple, Silage assisted in the College of Engineering’s transition from an engineering technology program to an engineering program, and supervised the first M.S.E.E. candidate of the graduate program in 1988. He also served as associate chair and director of the Electrical Engineering Technology program.

“My mentor is Victor Schutz, a former chair of the electrical and computer engineering department,” said Silage. “He was instrumental in my coming to Temple and provided a role model of what it means to be an engineering teacher. Temple has played a significant part in my receiving this honor by developing a top-caliber engineering school over the past 23 years that I’ve been a part of its faculty.”