Professor Jonathan Rose believes in “teaching from the ground up,” and it is that philosophy that helped him win the 2014 Faculty Award from the University of Toronto.
Rose, a professor and former chair of the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is a pioneer in the area of Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), prefabricated semiconductor chips that can be electrically configured to become any digital circuit. He has been a world leader in research concerning the architecture of these devices as well as the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tools needed to employ and explore them.
He said he was “absolutely delighted and honoured” to receive the award, because it highlights “the two sides of being a professor” – the research and teaching sides, and how they connect.
Prof. Rose has an inclusive approach when it comes to his students. In 1992 he, a colleague and his students published the first book dealing with the fundamental aspects of FPGA architecture and CAD tools, becoming a basic reference in the field and cited more than 900 times. A second book published seven years later based on a Ph.D. student’s thesis, together with another Master’s thesis became a foundational reference in the development of FPGA technology.
That led him to leading a group that started a company called Right Track CAD Corporation, which was later sold to Altera. The methodology his group pioneered helped Altera optimize its architectures for the last 10 years.
He “cares a lot about teaching” and has used his experience as a successful entrepreneur to strengthen his teaching style. In one of his courses he begins his lecture early to give a series of mini-lectures on the subject of entrepreneurship – covering steps involved in turning an idea into a company, as well as issues such as funding, recruitment and management.
In 2004 he founded the Engineering Entrepreneurship Seminar Series, which brings company representatives in to tell their company’s story. There have been more than 70 such talks over the years. Each talk is followed by a less formal dinner with the entrepreneur and about 12 to 20 students.
The Faculty Award is presented along with several other faculty, staff and student awards under the banner of Awards of Excellence. A complete list of this year’s recipients and their citations can be viewed on the Awards of Excellence website. This award program annually recognizes the outstanding members of the University of Toronto community who have made rich and meaningful contributions to the University, their communities and to the world.
Alumni Relations within the Division of University Advancement is the steward of the Awards of Excellence program on behalf of the University of Toronto Alumni Association, and co-ordinates the vital contributions of other University stakeholder groups toward this prestigious award program.
Prof. Rose and other 2014 Awards of Excellence recipients will be honoured at a ceremony at the Isabel Bader Theatre on April 1.