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The View from the Chalkboard

This month’s edition can best be titled “If I knew then what I know now”! Normally I use this space to present topics that I feel are important items in EMC education. This past semester was interesting because a number of students in my undergraduate EMC course shared with me their thoughts on why they felt having a background in EMC would be beneficial to them in their future careers.

I also know that many of you have had opportunities to attend various EMC symposiums and conferences over the years and/or have been a participant at some the EMC education (single or multiday) events that are held. Perhaps you attended some of those because were new to EMC, or maybe were looking for those one or two items that could help you with an immediate challenge you had in your work. Some of the comments I have received include how helpful it is to know the characteristics “real” components and how those characteristics may cause unanticipated and undesired effects, how and why wiring can (unknowingly) become effective antennas, and what are the causes and effects of common mode current.

Because of the feedback from my students, and knowing that you may have similar thoughts after attending an EMC event, I thought that I would provide YOU an opportunity to tell me what you think is important and what you would like see in EMC educational opportunities.

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So – I would like to know how you think those of us in EMC education can meet your needs for the types of information on topics that are most relevant to you. We have prepared some “thought starter” questions here – and welcome your additional comments and requests. (Specifically, if you have specific ideas for upcoming “View from The Chalkboard” topics – let me know that, too!)

To help you provide this information to me, I would like to ask if you would complete a short on-line survey with your thoughts and comments (the survey is located at:

So, if you would, please think about the following and then let me know your thoughts on:

  • What do you wish you would have been taught about EMC during your formal academic schooling?
  • What is / are the MOST important thing(s) about EMC that you have learned “on the job” that you think should be included in every formal EMC course or educational event?
  • What advice do you have for a person who is new to EMC?
  • What was best engineering related professional development event you’ve ever attended (EMC related or other), and why was it the best?

Looking forward to your suggestions, thoughts, and comments!

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author steffka-mark-2Mark Steffka, B.S.E., M.S., is a Lecturer (at the University of Michigan – Dearborn), an Adjunct Professor (at the University of Detroit – Mercy) and an automotive company Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Technical Specialist. His university experience includes teaching undergraduate, graduate, and professional development courses on EMC, antennas, and electronic communications. His extensive industry background consists of over 30 years’ experience with military and aerospace communications, industrial electronics, and automotive systems. 

Mr. Steffka is the author and/or co-author of numerous technical papers and publications on EMC presented at various Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) conferences. He has also written about and has been an invited conference speaker on topics related to effective methods in university engineering education. He is an IEEE member, has served as a technical session chair for SAE and IEEE conferences and has served as an IEEE EMC Society Distinguished Lecturer. He holds a radio communications license issued by the United States’ Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and holds the call sign WW8MS. He may be reached at

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