Rafic A. Bachnak, Ph.D., P.E.

Professor of Electrical Engineering, School of Science, Engineering, and Technology
Professor-in-Charge, Master in Engineering Science
Professor-in-Charge, Master in Engineering Management
Professor-in-Charge, Master of Science in Electrical Engineering
Office Phone
Office Location
Olmsted Building, W231B

Professor Bachnak received his B.S. (1983), M.S. (1984), and Ph.D. (1989) degrees in electrical engineering from Ohio University. He currently serves as Professor-in-Charge of the Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE) and the Master in Engineering Management (MEM) graduate programs.

From August 2013 to December 2019, Dr. Bachnak served as director of the School of Science, Engineering, and Technology at Penn State Harrisburg (PSH) and led the development and implementation of a successful five-year strategic plan. He has also been serving as director of the STEM-Summer Enrichment Program (STEM-SEP) since 2016. The goal of STEM-SEP is to improve student preparedness for college, while promoting STEM education through active learning experiences and activities.

Prior to joining PSH, Bachnak was professor of electrical and computer engineering and chair of the Department of Engineering, Mathematics, and Physics at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU). During his tenure at TAMIU, he led the implementation of a new bachelor’s program in Systems Engineering and served as director of STEM-Minority Outreach and Retention Enhancement (STEM-MORE) and STEM-Recruitment, Retention, and Graduation (STEM-RRG). MORE and RRG focused on the recruitment, retention, and graduation of minority students in STEM. During the 2009-2010 academic year, Bachnak was a Fulbright Scholar at Notre Dame University, Lebanon, where he taught courses in control systems and investigated the use of eddy-current for non-destructive evaluation.

From 1998 to 2007, Bachnak was at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC), where he served as interim chair of the Department of Computing Sciences and coordinator of Engineering Technology. During the 2005-2006 academic year, he spent a year at Johnson Space Center as a NASA Administrator Fellow where he worked on research projects associated with the International Space Station. Other assignments at TAMUCC included serving as the director of Furthering the Underrepresented in Science and Engineering (FUSE), a program to improve the recruitment of underrepresented students and attract them to science and engineering careers. Bachnak’s other experiences include several summer fellowships with NASA and the Naval Air Systems Command, appointments at Northwestern State University and Franklin University, and work for Koch Industries.

Bachnak has supported his research and outreach activities with grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Defense, the US Department of Education, the US Department of Agriculture, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Texas Space Grant Consortium, and several foundations. He is a lead author on more than 80 peer-reviewed publications and a co-author on more than 60 other publications. He has reviewed a number of technical books and has served as a reviewer for the IEEE Transactions on Education and the IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics. He has also served on the International Review Board for the International Journal of Modern Engineering and the International Journal on Advances in Systems and Measurements.

Bachnak is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas and has been active in several organizations, including IEEE, ASEE, and ABET. He is a senior member of IEEE and has served on the Board of Directors of the IEEE Corpus Christi Section in a variety of positions, including Chair. Bachnak’s ASEE service includes chair and program chair of the Instrumentation Division and chair and program chair of the Systems Engineering Division. He also was active in the Gulf-Southwest Section of ASEE and served as chair for the 2005 Annual Conference and section chair in 2006. Bachnak has been involved with ABET accreditation since 1991 and has served as both EAC and ETAC Program Evaluator on nine accreditation visits.

Research Interests

Embedded systems

Control and automation

Solar power and sensor networks

Systems design and integration

Non-destructive evaluation

STEM education and research


B.S.; M.S.; Ph.D. (Ohio U.)