Dr. Randall Jean

Spring 2011

Faculty Feature

Dr. Randall Jean

Dr. Randall Jean

While reading the paper one Sunday morning before church, Dr. Randall Jean saw an advertisement for an engineering position at Baylor. "It was as if God walked into the room," Dr. Jean said. "I went to church and said we were moving to Waco. This surprised everyone, even my wife."

From the beginning of his career at Baylor, Dr. Jean has been committed to Baylor's vision of combining Christian spirituality and high-quality research. "Baylor is a joyful place to be. And even better, they do good work in engineering," Dr. Jean said.

Dr. Jean, an associate professor in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, encourages his students to perform research so they can apply their abstract skills in real world situations "The electrical engineering undergraduate program only trains students to learn about engineering," Dr. Jean said. "Research allows students to problem solve and gain appreciation for their field."

Dr. Jean began his research at Texas A&M University, where he earned three degrees, including a doctorate in electrical engineering. While doing his doctoral work, he found that he was interested in metrology, a science that uses microwave sensors to determine the properties of materials. During this time, NASA was beginning to use this same technology in building the lunar program, and the government was searching for more opportunities for implementation. It was under these circumstances that Dr. Jean was able to do research at the Remote Sensing Center and build on existing NASA studies.

Immediately following his graduation, Dr. Jean joined the faculty of A&M where he was employed for eight years. After leaving the university to follow his dreams, Dr. Jean started his own company and was an entrepreneur for seventeen years in the area of microwave sensors. However, upon learning about the opening at Baylor, Dr. Jean decided to shift his focus to higher education and to pursue his own research interests while also encouraging and guiding his students in their research endeavors.

In addition to leading three undergraduate research labs, Dr. Jean works with both undergraduate and master's level students on thesis projects. He wants his students to understand that their research should have real world applications and can contribute to the engineering field as a whole. "Engineers are problem solvers and research is finding an innovative solution to difficult problems," Dr. Jean said.

One student with whom Dr. Jean works is senior Josh Daniliuc, whose research focuses on tomographic images, images similar to CT scans that are used in the medical field. Dr. Jean's research in metrology inspired Daniliuc's topic, as well as his practical approach to research. "Dr. Jean really encourages exploration and constantly reminds me that there is no such thing as a wrong answer, but always useful information," Daniliuc said. "He gives constructive feedback and invites me to always look at new approaches to tackle a concept to understand it fully."

One way of determining successful research in the field of engineering is the ability to find new ways to look at old problems. While impressive research in the arts and sciences is typically distinguished by publications, one way of recognizing excellent research in the engineering field is by receiving patents. In addition, patents on ideas and devices that are currently being used in the field are what truly distinguishes exceptional research. After years of hard work, Dr. Jean holds nine U.S. patents in his area of microwave-applied metrology.

When he's not researching or doing other forms of work, Dr. Jean enjoys playing golf, flying airplanes, and spending time with his eight grandchildren.