Professor in ECE named IEEE Region 3 Outstanding Engineer

Published: Apr 19, 2023 8:50 AM

By Joe McAdory

Fa Foster Dai holds 17 U.S. patents, has mentored 45 graduate students who have gone on to successful careers, is an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) fellow, and has more than 240 published peer-reviewed journal and conference articles to his credit.

It’s no wonder the Godbold Endowed Chair Professor in electrical and computer engineering was recently named IEEE Region 3 Outstanding Engineer, an award that recognizes outstanding contributions through teaching in industry, government, or at an institution of higher learning. The IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization with more than 427,000 members worldwide.

“The award is not only a great honor and recognition of my teaching and research, but also a recognition of Auburn’s reputation as an institute of excellence,” said Dai, who earned IEEE fellow status in 2009 and was later elected fellow to the National Academy of Inventors in 2021. “Being able to compete with other outstanding universities, companies and government labs from the entire southeastern U.S. says a lot about the high-quality work we are conducting at Auburn.

“For more than two decades, I have been working in industry and academia on integrated circuit designs, which is of extreme importance to our national interests. This award recognizes Auburn University’s achievements in semiconductor research and education, and as such is an honor for both our students and our college of engineering.”

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Chair Mark Nelms lauded Dai’s pursuit to developing advancements in everyday technological applications and developing electrical and computer engineering leaders of tomorrow.

“Dr. Dai’s dedication to his research, his students and the university made him a perfect choice for IEEE Region 3 Outstanding Engineer,” said Nelms. “We are proud, and fortunate, to have a scholar and educator like Foster serving this great university and its students.”

Before working in academia, Dai spent six years in industry, working helping Hughes Electronics, YAFO Networks, and Cisco-Cognio develop integrated circuit products for wireless, satellite and optical networks.

Dai, who joined the Auburn faculty in 2002, has a tremendous passion for practical education, nurturing students with theoretical foundations and practical skills necessary to succeed in the highly competitive semiconductor industry. Although he made significant technical contributions and spearheaded innovative ideas to advance semiconductor engineering, he considers the students he supervised to be his greatest contribution to engineering, many of which are employed as lead radio frequency integrated circuit engineers and technical directors at prominent semiconductor companies such as Apple, Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Marvel, NXP, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin.

“The education and training at Auburn have enabled those students to make contributions to a very critical industry in our nation that is facing ever-increasing global competition,” he said. “Their contribution significantly magnifies my performance as an individual engineer. My teaching philosophy is centered around promoting a culture of life-long learning, fostering a habit of critical thinking, facilitating the acquisition of practical skills, and developing problem-solving strategies. As students become better educated, they become better equipped to contribute to our research. As a result, we have been able to perform cutting-edge research in integrated circuit designs at the highest level at Auburn.

"My ultimate achievement is watching my students grow and succeed in achieving their lifelong goals. In return, my academic career has benefited from the excellent research my students have conducted under my supervision.” 

Media Contact: Joe McAdory,, 334.844.3447
Fa Foster Dai joined Auburn's faculty in 2002 after working six years integrating circuit products for wireless, satellite and optical networks.

Fa Foster Dai joined Auburn's faculty in 2002 after working six years integrating circuit products for wireless, satellite and optical networks.

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