When Tony Maciejewski interviewed for a faculty position with Colorado State University more than two decades ago, he fell in love with the beauty of Colorado – but the people hooked him.
“Coming from Purdue, I was impressed by the caliber of the faculty, and I was drawn to the congenial culture,” said Maciejewski. “I saw a department on the cusp of fantastic.”
Maciejewski joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at CSU in 2001. Now, having served as department head since 2003, he wraps up his fourth and final term on June 30. Maciejewski is not retiring. He will continue to teach and conduct research as a full-time faculty member.
Maciejewski’s focus on innovation helped position the ECE department as a leader in engineering education and research. Among his many accomplishments, he increased the number of faculty, expanded the research enterprise, launched new undergraduate and graduate programs, and increased alumni and donor support.
In 2015, Maciejewski led the department in securing a Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) grant from the National Science Foundation. As the first ECE department in the United States to receive the honor, the RED project garnered national recognition for its out-of-the-box approach to teaching and learning. The National Society of Professional Engineers – Colorado chapter named it the 2019 Public Project of the Year. In 2020, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association recognized the department as Innovative Program of the Year for its work with the RED project.
As he looks back on his successful career, Maciejewski says the people – his “ECE family” – motivated him to stay, and they are the reason the department is destined for greatness.
“This is a place where we know each other personally,” said Maciejewski. “We work hard and play hard.”
Engineering Source talked with Maciejewski before his final day as department head.
What is next for you? What are you looking forward to?
Exploring new microbreweries and hiking! Professionally, I am looking forward to working more with students. It is what I’ve enjoyed most about my career. I am eager to spend more time on my undergraduate robotics program, and expand my graduate student mentoring. I’m passionate about fostering the success of women in ECE and students from underrepresented backgrounds. As a first-generation college graduate, I understand the life-changing impact of a quality education.
Highlight for us some of your favorite moments – what sticks out in your time here?
When our faculty and staff get together and have a good time, such as our Friday happy hours or any activity that brings a sense of community. I really enjoyed the RED project and the collaboration amongst the team.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as department head at CSU?
That’s a question best answered by my colleagues. I’m proud of the people I’ve hired, and being able to play a role in helping our department succeed. The people who work here care about our students, and we believe our work makes a difference. That’s the best you can hope for.
What do you see in the future of our department?
I am optimistic about the future. We work in an exciting field that is critical to solving complex global problems. I see great opportunities as we recover from the pandemic and hire new faculty to advance our teaching and research missions.
What will you miss the most about the department head role?
We’ve created a family in ECE. I will miss celebrating the successes of the people in our department, including our alumni and industry partners.