Title: Associate Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering
Department: Electrical Engineering
- BSEE - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1974
- MSEE - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1977
- PhD - University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, 1997
Dr. David Beams’ career choice (electrical engineering) was fixed early in his high school years through a passionate interest in amateur radio. However, his decision to enter academia came over two decades later. He took a very unusual professional route to becoming an “accidental academic.”
Dr. Beams earned a BSEE (with high honors) in 1974 and an MS degree in 1977 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He had extensive industry experience before joining academia; he worked in design positions in agricultural electronics from 1974-1976 and 1977-1988, and medical imaging (X-ray bone densitometry) from 1988-1992.
Dr. Beams enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in
1992 and earned the PhD in 1997. His doctoral research, supported by Ohmeda (formerly
Ohio Medical), focused on numerical modeling of anesthesia-delivery systems.
As Dr. Beams was completing his doctoral program, the University of Texas at Tyler was launching its new engineering program. The founding mission of this program was to train practicing engineers and provide opportunities for continuing education. To this end, the University sought founding faculty who had both doctoral degrees and industry experience. Dr. Beams was one of the founding faculty of the College of Engineering in 1997; he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering from 1997-2003 and an Associate Professor from 2003-2018. He was named Associate Professor Emeritus in 2019.
Dr. Beams believed that the laboratory was where the majority of learning took place; he therefore wrote his own laboratory procedures and designed his own special laboratory equipment. Dr. Beams was also passionate about imparting to students an appreciation for the history of the profession. He used a personal collection of electronic devices (ranging from vacuum tubes dating from the late 1920s to the Pentium Pro microprocessor of the late 1990s) to allow students to touch that history and its sense the dynamism of the profession.
Dr. Beams' research focused on power electronics and wireless power transfer during his tenure at UT-Tyler. He taught the capstone Senior Design sequence from 2001 to 2018 and was also a frequent member of MS thesis committees. Dr. Beams was active in engineering education research, and his work was often published through ASEE.