In high-demand sectors like engineering and computer science, Azusa Pacific University equips new professionals with the skills to make a difference in these innovative fields. APU’s Department of Engineering and Computer Science offers a hands-on curriculum and close interaction with accomplished industry professionals, preparing students for successful careers. “Our first priority is the success of our students,” said James Hsi-Jen Yeh, PhD, Acting Director and Associate Professor, Department of Engineering and Computer Science.
“The ECS program offers specialized programs aimed at developing students’ talents and passions in specific areas.”
Yeh brings an impressive wealth of experience to his role at APU that informs his teaching. Prior to APU, he taught in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Engineering Technology at Cal Poly Pomona. He also worked for 10 years with fingerprint sensor industry leaders AuthenTec (now Apple) and Validity (now Synaptics) in cellular handset integration. Later generations of these sensors are now included in Apple and Samsung mobile phones. Yeh was a senior researcher at AT&T Bell Laboratories in the area of wireless communications and optical storage. He holds seven US patents for his research, and his publications and patents are frequently cited. His doctoral research focused on the founding technology of RFID manufacturer Alien Technology.
Students planning to pursue studies through the Department of Engineering and Computer Science can choose from three main programs, allowing for focused study in areas of interest. The BS in Computer Science provides students with an engaging experience in learning to solve complex problems using computer systems. Through this program, students can tailor their education to specific emphases, including artificial intelligence, advanced database application programming, or software systems development.
The BS in Computer Information Systems program prepares students with the technical expertise and organizational knowledge needed to do business in a rapidly changing technological environment. This program offers interactive hands-on learning in concentrations such as artificial intelligence, telecommunications, and web programming.
The BS in Engineering degree equips students with the skills needed for careers in a wide range of industries. Through the program’s informed curriculum, students are able to pursue engineering opportunities in fields such as aerospace, agriculture, automotive, business, defense, energy, health and telecommunications.
APU’s ECS program offers many unique benefits and opportunities to students, making it a competitive choice for those wishing to pursue a college education in engineering and computer science. Students experience small class sizes, which helps them make valuable connections with professors and peers in the same field. Professors are personally invested in each student’s success, offering one-on-one academic guidance throughout the program to help students direct their studies towards their passion. APU alumni currently work at Tesla, Raytheon, Northrop-Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Aerospace Corp, Paypal, YouTube and Google.
“Companies that hire APU graduates continue to do so,” Yeh said. “Our students come out of the program prepared with the skills and knowledge to be successful in their careers. The willingness of organizations to continue to hire APU students attests to this.
Integral to its success, APU’s ECS program is guided by an Advisory Board, comprised of accomplished industry professionals from leading organizations and companies. “The advisory board is made up of CEOs, retired corporate executives and other industry figures as well as APU directors and representatives,” Yeh said. “Our meetings guide the design of our program, ensuring that our students learn is appropriate and practical in a rapidly changing industry. Additionally, board members help students find internships, jobs and other opportunities, either while they are still in the program or after graduation.”
Current advisory board member David Simmeth noted that the board helps design a useful and effective curriculum. “With an industry-relevant curriculum taught by experienced faculty, APU’s ECS department prepares students to become future industry leaders, with a strong foundation in their faith.”
Compatible with APUs God first mission, the ECS curriculum integrates faith into all classrooms. Students learn more than engineering and computer skills and connections – they learn how Christian ethics and principles can play into every aspect of their lives and careers.
“We train talented and hardworking engineers and computer scientists with an understanding of ethical and societal dilemmas in their careers, helping them make the right decisions with God at the center,” Yeh said.
Going forward, the Department of Engineering and Computer Science aims to continue to improve its curriculum and provide more exciting opportunities for students. The department is promoting accreditation of its degrees, which would help promote ECS courses as a competitive and well-known program among national standards. Accreditation provides students and educational institutions with standardized recognition of their academic quality, making APU degrees even more valuable for students pursuing employment and graduate school. With these enhancements in mind, the program is committed to continuing to equip seasoned engineers and computer scientists with the skills they need to thrive as industry difference makers.
Posted: February 4, 2022