Wayne State engineering technology professor to serve as program director for NSF

Ece Yaprak, professor of engineering technology at Wayne State University, is headed to Washington to serve as program director for the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Undergraduate Education. This one-year appointment is effective Feb. 9, 2015, and renewable for up to four years.

The ATE program focuses on the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive the U.S. economy, and will award an anticipated $64 million in funding for fiscal year 2015. In her role as program director, Yaprak will oversee the proposal review process, recruit and manage independent panelists who vet proposals based on merit, work with principal investigators and researchers on their submissions, make final recommendations to the NSF’s Division of Undergraduate Education, notify principal investigators of the NSF’s decision, and negotiate budgets.

Yaprak has served as a panel reviewer for the NSF for several years and has been involved with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in various capacities for more than a decade. Since 2012, she has served as a commissioner on ABET’s Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission. The commission is responsible for administering the ABET accreditation process, conducting accreditation reviews and determining accreditation.  In 2014, she was appointed director of assessment and accreditation for Wayne State’s College of Engineering.

A dual alumna of Wayne State University, Yaprak earned her M.S. in computer engineering in 1984 and her Ph.D. in computer engineering in 1989. As a professor, she has been honored with the College of Engineering’s Excellence in Teaching Award three times.

Yaprak is excited about this new challenge and confident that her background and previous experience will serve her well.

“I have been on the other side many times, so I have an appreciation for what goes into preparing proposals and working in cross-disciplinary and cross-university teams,” she says. “Additionally, my background in ABET accreditation has sharpened my ability to assess how well programs are performing and can perform.”

Yaprak has previously served as co-principal investigator and co-director on an NSF-funded program designed to improve the advancement of women in academic careers in science and technology by focusing on institutional climate change. Yaprak asserts that increasing the number of women in the engineering classroom as teachers and students is one of her passions.

During her time at the NSF, Yaprak will continue to advise her WSU students through visits to campus and virtual meetings, as well as continue to work on her publications and other projects. Yaprak says she is looking forward to the challenge., “I have taught, conducted research, worked with students, won awards, served on committees and more,” she says. “This will be a totally different and enriching experience.”                  

Return to news