Dr. John Hansen Named Head of EE Department
At Jonsson School of Engineering & Computer Science

Will Join UTD from the University of Colorado at Boulder

RICHARDSON, Texas (April 25, 2005) – Dr. John H. L. Hansen, chairman of the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has been named head of the Electrical Engineering Department in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). He will assume his new responsibilities in the fall semester.

In announcing the appointment, Jonsson School Dean Dr. Bob Helms described Hansen as a “world-class scholar, educator, leader and administrator” who would help Jonsson “accelerate its move toward attaining tier one status as one of the top 50 engineering schools in the United States.”

Photo, John Hansen
Dr. John H. L. Hansen

At The University of Colorado at Boulder, Hansen holds joint appointments as a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as well as in the department he chairs. He is a distinguished lecturer of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and earned both his master’s degree and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Hansen said he was “delighted to be joining a university, UTD, and a school, the Jonsson School, that are so obviously on the move, are so committed to excellence and have so much potential for continued growth and innovation. I’m really excited about joining such a strong team and working with UTD faculty and students to shape the direction of the Electrical Engineering Department.”

Hansen will succeed Dr. Gerald O. Burnham as head of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Jonsson School. Burnham stepped down to become the school’s associate dean for accreditation and outreach. Dr. D. T. Huynh heads the school’s only other department, Computer Science. Helms has said he plans to expand the school to include other departments in the relatively near future.

Before joining the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1999, Hansen was a member of the faculty at Duke University for 11 years in the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. and has worked closely with the Duke Medical Center and corporations in Research Triangle Park, N.C. He served as the technical advisor to the U.S. delegate for NATO in speech systems and has worked with industry and U.S. government agencies in speech science and language technology. Hansen has published extensively, particularly in the field of speech processing, and is co-author of a textbook on the subject. In 1988, Hansen founded the Robust Speech Processing laboratory, and he continues to serve as coordinator for the Robust Speech Processing Group.

T he Jonsson School was founded less than 20 years ago and is named after former Dallas Mayor Erik Jonsson, a co-founder of both Texas Instruments (TI) and the research institute that in 1969 was turned over to the state and became UTD. In 2003, TI joined with the State of Texas and the University of Texas System in announcing an innovative and virtually unprecedented public-private initiative, code-named “Project Emmitt,” that is expected to result in an infusion of up to $300 million to UTD – and specifically to the Jonsson School. As tangible evidence of that agreement, UTD last November was able to break ground on the northern end of campus for construction of an $85-million, state-of-the-art Natural Science and Engineering Research Center.

Hansen said that Project Emmitt, which is formally known as the Jonsson School Research Enterprise Initiative, was one of the “major inducements” in his decision to come to UTD. “This is an opportunity that very few schools ever are fortunate enough to have bestowed on them.”

Dr. Philip C. Loizou, a professor of electrical engineering who chaired the search committee, said the group moved rapidly to recruit a number of strong candidates and that Hansen soon emerged as the most qualified person to head the EE Department. Dean Helms praised the committee for its “dedication and outstanding work.”

Helms, a former TI vice president, Stanford professor and president and chief executive officer of International SEMATECH, joined UTD in the spring of 2003. Under his leadership, the Jonsson School has been recruiting significant numbers of outstanding new faculty and graduate students, developing new academic programs and increasing the scope of its research capabilities. Hansen is the first new department head the dean has recruited.

The Jonsson School long has had a reputation for developing innovative programs: It was the first school in the country to have an accredited telecommunications engineering degree program and one of the first to have a software engineering program. Jonsson ranked first in the nation in the total number of computer science degrees conferred in 2003, the most recent year surveyed by the American Society for Engineering Education, and fifth in the total combined number of electrical engineering and computer science degrees.

The Jonsson School is one of seven schools at The University of Texas at Dallas. It is home to both the Human Language Technology Research Institute and the CyberSecurity and Emergency Preparedness Institute.

The first incorporates a broad spectrum of disciplines working towards two closely related goals -- to enable computers to interact with humans using natural-language capabilities, and to serve as useful assistants to humans by providing services such as automatic text understanding and retrieval, information extraction and question answering, automatic translation and speech recognition.

The second was created to help deal with the rapidly growing Homeland Security problems in cybercrime, information assurance and emergency preparedness. It is one of only a handful of entities of its kind in the U. S.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 14,000 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.