The award-winning paper stemmed from Dr. Stapleton and his University of Alabama colleagues’ desire to better prepare students for life after school. Equipping students with the skill-sets they require to succeed meant big changes to their Computer Engineering program. According to Dr. Stapleton, the best way to achieve this goal was to change the emphasis of the program from general computing to embedded computing.
As opposed to creating more courses or coursework for students, which would have had a significant financial impact on the school, changing the emphasis of the program required the existing faculty to find new ways to introduce more challenging material in a way that students could understand. This is where Dr. Stapleton shines. His ability to make difficult concepts accessible is made demonstrably clear by his popularity among students. To truly prepare students for the future, Dr. Stapleton understands the importance of ‘getting the students guided into a mindset that is going to help them…in a general computing context, as well as embedded.’
Dr. Stapleton goes on to say that ‘once someone has learned to program under the constraints of embedded systems…it’s easier for them to program in a general context’. The advantages of this strategy are multiplied by the fact that ‘PC processors… account for only 6% of the world market, according to audited reports in the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics' blue book. The remaining 94%...consists of embedded microprocessors’.1
The awards ceremony occurred October 20th at the 2009 Frontiers in Education Conference which is sponsored by the IEEE Education Society, the IEEE Computer Society, and the ASEE Educational Research and Methods Division. The 2009 FIE Conference would mark the 39th consecutive year since it’s modest beginnings in 1971: ‘Attendance of around 100 in 1971 has grown to one that today has over 600 participants and authors from around the world.’2
In 2008, The Ingram School of Engineering was proud and honored to have Dr. Stapleton as its first and founding member of the Electrical Engineering program. There is little doubt that this proven innovator will continue to bring new ideas to Texas State University for many years to come.
1“Embedded Microprocessors”. Computerworld- News, Education, & Headlines. 1994 – 2009. Computerworld Inc. 29 October 2009.
2FIE 2009 Conference Site. October 2009. Frontiers in Education. 1 November 2009.