1. James Liou

James Liou

Professor, PhD.


DeVry University Houston

Teaching Field: Electrical Engineering Technology

"We provide many internship opportunities, and many of them lead to job offers even before graduation. We will take you by the hand and guide you through your degree program from start to finish; we don't leave you to struggle through difficulties alone."

Where I come from

I was raised in Taiwan, and came to the United States for my Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering. For more than 21 years I worked in the semiconductor, signal processing and communications industries, as an engineer, engineering manager, and business development manager. My specialties were circuits and systems, fiber optics and telecommunications.

At Texas Instruments, I was an integrated circuit engineer in semiconductor chip design. I later worked in TI's Digital Image Processing Laboratory for Missile Guidance Control and Automatic Target Recognition. At MCI, I was the Chief Network Architect of the project that designed the IP wide area network for the U.S. Postal Service, linking more than 40,000 post offices. I also led an integration team that developed the optical transceiver which is a critical component in today's communications network.

I've just celebrated my ten-year service anniversary with DeVry University. Though I teach full time now, I retain my contacts in the industry, both here and in Asia. Technology is global these days. I want my students to have an understanding of the trends in the industry as a whole.

You can do it

If you can pass the qualifying exam for entrance into DeVry University, you can learn what you need to graduate. You do not need background or experience in electronics or computer to succeed in your ECT studies at DeVry University. We build you up. I have been responsible for the first-semester classes in ECT at DeVry University Houston. It is my job to identify and "repair" any weaknesses in academic or foundation skills that you may come in with and I have been quite successful.

I had several good teachers but the one that comes to mind is my high school math teacher. He was very good at bringing down complex topics to a level that is easily understandable. I learned to do that from him and improved my ability through practice as a teacher and as a manager. He was also very articulate and very fun in class. He inspired me to go into science and engineering.

Engineering rocks!

I really enjoy engineering. In my view, almost 100% of what you do in engineering and medicine benefits other people. Think about the great inventions of this century that have enriched our life. We have it so good, compared to people in the past. I tell my students, "If you have a creative mind, if you like to pursue exciting things, if you have an interest in electrical and mechanical things, it is worth considering a career in engineering."

The ideal of a balanced life

I admired many of my colleagues in industry, especially the ones who managed to have a vibrant family life along with a productive professional career. That's something I admire. In Asian families, parents provide a lot of guidance, emphasizing from childhood on that education is a priority in life.

Students making good

Students come here from many different backgrounds, with different strengths and weaknesses. Many turn their lives around and make a good life for themselves. After working for just a couple of years they can afford to buy a new car or a home. Their career advances and they receive promotions. When they come back to tell me what they've achieved, it gives me great satisfaction. My students are like my children. I care for them. I am always praising my former students to my current students, holding them up as role models.

Integrating head and hands

My ECT classes integrate lecture and hands-on lab work. First I teach the theory or principles on the topic of the day. Then we build the physical product - say, a circuit board - to evaluate it against the theory. Then we verify the results with a computer simulation. I emphasize discussion and teamwork because people learn more when they participate. My average class size is 18 students.

Call me any time

I give students my cell phone number and tell them that they can call me any time day or night including weekends. I try to answer their emails within 12 hours. I am friendly with them, and they are comfortable talking with me about all sorts of issues in their studies and in their personal life. Sometimes we go out for dinner together, or they call me for a ride when they have transportation problems.

Brains trump training

The training you get at a trade school does prepare you for an entry-level job in industry, but that's all. In that way, it is very short-sighted. At a university like DeVry, you are trained for an immediate job, which is good. You also learn how to use your brains to learn on your own and use your talent to survive challenges and obstacles. It will help you jumpstart a career, either at the entry level or mid-career.

I devote a lot of time to working with the Career Services Center. I help plan programs for high school students and I work with the Industrial Advisory Committee to periodically review our educational objectives against the needs of employers. We are continually improving our program offerings to give our students an edge.

Why DeVry?

A DeVry University education emphasizes real-world experience and integrates theory and lab. DeVry University teaches bedrock theory very well and provides the tools you need to practice on. You can graduate with a bachelor's degree in three years or an associate's degree in 18 months, and you will be 100% career-ready.

We provide many internship opportunities, and many of them lead to job offers even before graduation. We will take you by the hand and guide you through your degree program from start to finish; we don't leave you to struggle through difficulties alone.