Neal Anderson Named to Terrence Murray Professorship at Commonwealth Honors College

Neal G. Anderson
Neal G. Anderson

Neal G. Anderson, professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been named Terrence Murray Commonwealth Honors College Professor.

Anderson joins Dean Robinson, associate professor of political science, who is currently serving as a Murray Professor to the Honors College. In his role, Anderson will expand the Honors College’s capacity to develop innovative interdisciplinary ways of delivering the thesis experience for honors students in STEM fields. The dean of Commonwealth Honors College, Gretchen Gerzina, said that “an important component of the Commonwealth Honors College curriculum is the completion of an honors thesis or project; Professor Anderson will play a critical role in helping departments find new ways of delivering the thesis or project.”

Anderson said, “As Murray Professor, I will explore models for honors thesis and project supervision that are both more effective and more efficient than the traditional ‘one-student-one-mentor’ model. I will be piloting a shared mentoring model in my own department, in which supervision by individual faculty chairs directing student-specific thesis research is integrated with a common seminar that provides mentoring and guidance on generic aspects of research and the thesis-writing process. I will engage other STEM departments across campus about this and other approaches to thesis and project supervision that can provide a better experience—more efficiently—to our honors students and their faculty mentors.”

Anderson earned his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in 1988, and has served on the faculty of the electrical and computer engineering department at UMass Amherst ever since. His current research focuses on physical foundations of information processing and computation, and on fundamental physical considerations that could shape the future evolution of information technologies. He has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels and received Distinguished Teaching Award in 2006. Anderson has had a long involvement with Commonwealth Honors College, including service as ECE honors program coordinator and director since 1995.