Alan Cheville

Professor of Electrical Engineering T. Jefferson Miers Chair in Electrical Engineering
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About Alan Cheville

My passion is ... 
Ignorance shrinks opportunity and expands adversity. I seek ways to emancipate engineering education so that our graduates have the agility to tackle global challenges and the wisdom to serve a greater good.

Growing up in the Panama Canal Zone I was always fascinated by light. This interest got me into trouble at times since experiments with fireworks, high voltage, and lasers did not always turn out the way I anticipated. This interest led me to get an electrical engineering degree at Rice University where I stayed for graduate school studying optoelectronics and racing bicycles all over the great state of Texas. After I earned my PhD I took research and teaching jobs at Oklahoma State University where I did research on terahertz frequencies and developed courses in electromagnetics, photonics, and engineering design.

I have always been interested in education, and over the course of many years I began to realize that many of the most vexing problems facing humanity have their roots in how we educate those who will follow us. My work in engineering education began to take up more and more of my time over the course of my career, and eventually led me to Washington, DC where I served as a program director in the National Science Foundation helping to set the direction of engineering education policy.

I took the position as chair in electrical and computer engineering at Bucknell because while I loved the excitement and passion of policy, I missed engaging with students in the classroom. My interests tend to be eclectic, but right now I am focusing on engineering design education, engineering education policy, and the philosophy of engineering education. I am also trying to tie my lifelong interests in stories and games into my work which is easier at a place like Bucknell. My passion is education in the broadest sense of the word; it is all that stands between us and a future that threatens our survival on this planet. If I have developed any philosophy of education over the years it is "We Become What We Do".

Favorite Out of Class Activities/Interests

  • Bicycling. It has taught me what I know of life. Keep pedaling and you won't fall off.
  • Making. To understand is a human thing. To Make, that is of the Gods.
  • Reading science fiction and fantasy; we also understand our world through stories.
  • Games, particularly role-playing games

Educational Background

  • B.S.E.E, Rice University, 1986
  • Ph.D., Rice University, 1994

Teaching Experience

  • Professor, Bucknell, 2012 - Present
  • Associate Professor, Oklahoma State University, 2004 - 2012 Assistant Professor, Oklahoma State University, 1998 - 2004

Teaching Specialties

  • I don't believe in teaching. I believe in learning.

Research Interests

  • Optoelectronically generated THz spectroscopy and imaging
  • Engineering education systems and learning environments


  • T.J. Miers Chair of Electrical Engineering, 2013 - Present
  • NSF Director's Award for Program Management Excellence, 2012

Industry Experience

  • National Science Foundation 2010-2012

Further Information

Contact Details


321A Dana Engineering Building


Phone: 570-577-3460