Dr. Reese receives MSU Alumni Association Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award

Dr. Robert Reese

During Mississippi State's 2006 Faculty Awards and Recognition Program Wednesday, Dr. Robert B. Reese received a university-wide honor, the MSU Alumni Association Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award. The recognition program is organized by the alumni association and Office of Academic Affairs.

In the late 1980’s, university faculty in electrical and computer engineering departments across the nation faced the challenge of bringing computer aided design (CAD) tools for chip design into the classroom. Industry tools were specialized and expensive, and available university tools were relatively primitive and problematic. Coming to MSU with related industry experience at MCC in Austin, Dr. Reese assumed the leadership role in meeting this formidable challenge and his success significantly enhanced the University’s position nationally in this important area. His efforts provided the infrastructure for one of the components that led to the selection of MSU for an NSF ERC: expertise at MSU in VLSI hardware design. As a nationally recognized university leader in university CAD environments for education, Dr. Reese held a workshop for U.S. university faculty on The Use of Logic Synthesis in the Classroom under a National Science Foundation award.

The most important result of these efforts has been the opportunities afforded to his students. Dr. Reese can count among his graduates employees of essentially all of the major VLSI design houses across the nation (Intel, Cypress Semiconductor, Motorola, Dallas Semiconductor, Sun Microsystems, etc.). He has done this through a systematic integration of design synthesis, simulation, and implementation into his classes.

Dr. Reese’s educational philosophy is that you have “to do” in order to learn. He makes sure every course has a strong out-of-the-classroom component, either a formal lab that follows closely with the course or structured homework or project exercises. He says he has also learned “not to underestimate our students - if you challenge them, they will respond, often with surprising results.” In the words of one of his computer engineering students, “The quality of his instruction is unmatched by any faculty member I have had thus far at MSU. He teaches his subject thoroughly and clearly, and provides as much outside-the-classroom help as is needed.”