Dr. Leah Jamieson:
From Recognizing Speech to Speaking Out: An Unexpected Journey

Event Date: September 12, 2014
Hosted By: CoE Academic Affairs
Time: 3:30 PM
Location: ARMS 1103
Contact Name: Marsha Freeland
Contact Email: mjfreeland@purdue.edu
Open To: all
Dr. Leah Jamieson
Dr. Leah Jamieson


In its steady state, Engineering’s Celebration of Faculty Careers is designed to create and encourage introspection at seven-year intervals: reflecting seven years into the past and envisioning seven years into the future. In the years until steady state, it is natural to extend the time window of retrospection, thereby giving a longer view of “career” that goes far beyond recent accomplishments and challenges.

In this spirit, I will reflect on a career that has spanned many seemingly unrelated technical fields, areas of focus within academia, and activities outside academia: speech recognition, parallel processing algorithms and software, teaching paradigms, engineering education, community service, women in engineering, and volunteer and leadership roles in a number of organizations.

I will not try to find strong technical connections among these areas, but I will attempt to weave a fabric of themes by which they all do, in fact, all belong to a coherent whole: collaboration, parallel processing (with less of a focus on algorithms and software), community, connections, planning, personal and institutional growth, changing the conversation, shaping the conversation. I will share ideas on leadership learned from a Purdue ECE alumnus and, with the scant attention to career planning that has served me reasonably well for many years, speculate about the future.


Leah H. Jamieson is the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering at Purdue University, Ransburg Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and holds a courtesy appointment in Purdue’s School of Engineering Education. She served as 2007 President and CEO of the IEEE and was co-founder and past director of the EPICS – Engineering Projects in Community Service – program.

With colleagues Edward Coyle and William Oakes, Jamieson was awarded the 2005 NAE Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education for the creation and dissemination of EPICS and was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering “for innovations in integrating engineering education and community service.” She was an inaugural recipient of the NSF’s Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars and has been recognized with the IEEE Education Society’s 2000 Harriet B. Rigas “Outstanding Woman Engineering Educator” Award, the Anita Borg Institute’s 2007 “Women of Vision Award for Social Impact,” the IEEE Richard M. Emberson Award, and the Simon Bolivar medal from the National Ministry of Education of Colombia. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the IEEE and the American Society for Engineering Education, an Eminent Member of IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu, an Honorary Member of Tau Beta Pi, and has been awarded an honorary doctorate from Drexel University.

Jamieson's research has focused on speech analysis and recognition; the design and analysis of parallel processing algorithms; and the application of parallel processing to digital speech, image, and signal processing. She has authored over 175 journal papers, conference papers, and book chapters and has co-edited books on Algorithmically Specialized Parallel Computers (Academic Press, 1985) and The Characteristics of Parallel Algorithms (M.I.T. Press, 1987). She has served on editorial boards for the IEEE Transactions on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, the IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, and the Proceedings of the IEEE, and is on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Engineering Education.

Jamieson served on the steering committee for the report Changing the Conversation: Developing Effective Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering (NAE, 2008) and was co-chair with Jack Lohmann of the ASEE report Innovation with Impact: Creating a Culture for Scholarly and Systematic Innovation in Engineering Education (ASEE, 2012). She was a member of the planning committee for the report Advancing Research in Science and Engineering (ARISE-II): Unleashing America’s Research & Innovation Enterprise (American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2013), and is a member of the study committee for the NRC report on Barriers and Opportunities in Completing 2- and 4-Year STEM Degrees. She is currently President of the IEEE Foundation Board and is past chair of the Board of Trustees for the Anita Borg Institute. Jamieson received her S.B. in Mathematics from MIT and her PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University.  She joined the faculty at Purdue in 1976.