University of Utah Electrical and Computer Engineering professor and chair Florian Solzbacher has been nominated and elected as the 2023-2024 Western ECEDHA Chair.

The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association (ECEDHA) is the leading association for electrical and computer engineering educators, and is composed of nearly 250 ABET accredited ECE university department heads or chairs from across North America dedicated to improving the quality of education and research in electrical and computer engineering. ECEDHA is a non-profit organization and is volunteer-based. The Western ECEDHA region includes Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

In a recent statement, Solzbacher expressed his excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to serve as the Chair of WECEDHA.

“I am honored to have been elected as the WECEDHA chair,” says Solzbacher. “ECEDHA is a wonderful organization and I am grateful for the opportunity to operate and have an impact beyond what I am able to do as a professor, researcher, or even department chair.”

Solzbacher also outlined his goals for his tenure as Chair, which include an initiative to grow the population of underrepresented students in electrical and computer engineering programs by creating new scholarships, efforts to streamline ABET accreditations and reporting for ECE departments, and a push for ECEDHA to provide increased marketing and communications assistance to departments.

“I don’t want any student to not be able to pursue this dream because they feel it is unaffordable; if you’ve got the passion and skills, nothing should hold you back, and I feel it is a responsibility being in such a role to give back,” says Solzbacher. “There is a massive need for electrical and computer engineers in the industry, so let’s find ways to make enrolling easier.”

“We also want to help departments streamline ABET accreditations and reporting,” says Solzbacher. “Navigating the reporting is a common struggle among departments, and a strain on administration, so we want to create a database and exchange system to share best practices and overall increase the efficiency of this task for departments.”

ECEDHA hosts an annual national conference as well as annual regional conferences. Last fall, the Western regional ECEDHA conference was hosted here at the University of Utah with the help of Solzbacher and the ECE department. There are plans for the University of Utah to host the national ECEDHA meeting in 2025.

Image from the Fall 2022 WECEDHA Meeting

In addition to his University roles as ECE department chair and professor, Solzbacher also holds adjunct appointments in the Price College of Engineering’s departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.

He is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineers (AIMBE), a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). He is co-founder, president and executive chairman of Salt Lake City-based Blackrock Neurotech, which develops brain-computer interface technologies for the medical industry.

Solzbacher’s research focuses on harsh environment microsystems and materials, including implantable, wireless microsystems for biomedical and healthcare applications, and on high temperature and harsh environment compatible micro sensors. He is co-founder of several companies and member of a number of company and public private partnership advisory and reviewer boards and conference steering committees in Europe and the US. He is author of over 200 journal and conference publications, five book chapters and 16 pending patents.