Texas Instruments Fellow Named Director of Microelectronics-Photonics Graduate Program
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Rick Wise has been named director of the University of Arkansas’ interdisciplinary microelectronics-photonics program, better known as microEP.
Wise comes to the university after a more than 30-year career at Texas Instruments.
“After a nationwide search, I am thrilled that Dr. Rick Wise has accepted our offer to be the next leader of the microEP program,” said Kim LaScola Needy, dean of the Graduate School and International Education. “His vision and energy are eagerly anticipated, and I predict that he will continue moving this program successfully forward.”
Wise will be only the second director in the program’s 16-year history. The program, which has an enrollment of 65 graduate students, was founded and directed until this year by Ken Vickers, who will retire at the end of August.
Wise said he is pleased with what Vickers has created and plans to follow his example. Additionally, he hopes to use his ties to industry to help bolster the program.
“The program is in good shape. I want to maintain the good things that have been established and are working well, and I will also try to utilize my connections with industry while they are still warm,” he said.
The microelectronics-photonics program prepares students for careers involving micro- and nanomaterials, processing, and devices applied in areas such as photonics, microelectronics and biochemical analysis. In addition to the graduate program, an undergraduate minor is offered.
Wise is hopeful that in taking on his new role he will be able to aid the University of Arkansas in realizing its goal of becoming a top 50 public research university.
“Achieving the goal of top 50 is largely gauged on graduate programs. I want to do everything I can to help reach that goal,” he said.
Wise enters the position with a wealth of experience. He has held numerous technical and management roles during his tenure at Texas Instruments and was elected a TI Fellow in 1998. He has served as the manager of external research at the company for the past dozen years and is the inventor or co-inventor on 23 U.S. patents.
Wise has also chaired the Industrial Advisory Committee for the microEP program at the U of A for more than 10 years and was inducted into the Arkansas Academy of Chemical Engineers in 2008. He hopes these experiences and relationships will help him to transition successfully from industry into academia.
“In managing external research at TI, I primarily worked with universities and research consortia, so I’ve spent the last 10 years preparing for this. I always dreamed this would be the last phase of my career,” he said.
Wise holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Arkansas and master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering and applied science from Southern Methodist University. He largely attributes his success in industry to his time at the University of Arkansas and acknowledged that motivated him to return to the Fayetteville campus.
“I wanted to come back home and give back to the university that gave me a start,” he said.
Wise begins in his new role as program director on Monday, Aug. 18.
Amanda Cantu, director of communications
Graduate School and International Education
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