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photo of Professors Phil Schmidt and Richard Crawford

Professors Phil Schmidt (left) and Richard Crawford (right) display student posters produced in the department's PROCEED program, in which undergraduate students learn engineering by solving real-world engineering cases. Students produce and present their solutions orally as well as in the form of posters and detailed documentation.

2009 and 2010 were unusually successful years for the Mechanical Engineering faculty members at The University of Texas at Austin. Six professors from the ME department collectively won 11 prestigious teaching awards. This article provides a brief biography of these professors along with a description of the awards won. Full articles on these awards can be accessed from the sidebar. The articles below are in alphabetical order.

Dr. Richard H. Crawford awarded the 2010 Ralph Coats Roe Award

Dr. Richard Crawford

Dr. Richard Crawford

Biography

Dr. Richard H. Crawford is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and is the Temple Foundation Endowed Faculty Fellow No. 3. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana State University in 1982, and his M.S. in 1985 and Ph.D. in 1989, both in Mechanical Engineering and from Purdue University. He joined the faculty of the university in January 1990 and teaches mechanical engineering design and geometry modeling for design.

Dr. Crawford has also been involved in the development of a "Design Technology" curriculum for elementary schools. This program, called DTEACh, exposes elementary students to fundamental engineering concepts, such as materials science, mechanisms, power transmission, and automation and control, through a series of lessons and projects. The design technology curriculum emphasizes applied mathematics and science and represents a departure from traditional approaches to teaching these subjects.

Award Description

The 2010 Ralph Coats Roe Award from the Mechanical Engineering Division of ASEE recognizes a mechanical engineering educator who is an outstanding teacher and has made a notable contribution to the profession. This award consists of a $10,000 cash award, award plaque, and travel expense reimbursement for attendance at the ASEE Annual conference. The award is funded by Burns and Roe, Inc., in honor of Ralph Coats Roe.

Dr. Philip Schmidt awarded the 2010 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award, the 2010 Chester F. Carlson Award and the Chancellor's Council Outstanding Teaching Award

photo of Phil Schmidt and Dr. J. P. Mohsen

Professor Phil Schmidt (right) was presented with the Chester F. Carlson Award by outgoing ASEE president, Dr. J. P. Mohsen, at the ASEE Awards Banquet on June 23, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Biography

Dr. Philip Schmidt earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University in 1968. He joined the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin in 1970 after teaching for two years at Prairie View A&M College as a Woodrow Wilson Intern. Dr. Schmidt is a faculty member of the Thermal/Fluid Systems Program and the director the Mechanical Engineering Department's Project-Centered Engineering Education curriculum reform effort. Dr. Schmidt was named an inaugural University Distinguished Teaching Professor in 1995.

In 2000, Dr. Schmidt initiated a department-wide curriculum development program called PROCEED, and is the current director of the program. Since its inception, PROCEED has provided major funding for the innovations in the Mechanical Engineering undergraduate program, including redesign of 13 courses in the core curriculum, renovation and equipping of nine undergraduate laboratories and creation of a student portfolio system.

Award Descriptions

The 2010 Chester F. Carlson Award (PDF file Awards Banquet brochure), awarded by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), is one of the most prestigious awards given to an engineering professor. This award is presented annually to an individual innovator in engineering education who, by motivation and ability to reach beyond the accepted traditions, has made a significant contribution to the profession. The award is sponsored by Xerox Corporation and consists of a $1,000 honorarium and a plaque.

The 2010 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award, awarded by The University of Texas Systems' Board of Regents is a career award presented annually to 20 outstanding senior faculty members who have made significant educational contributions to the university, both in the classroom and beyond through creative innovation and methodology in education. It is one of the highest honors bestowed by The University of Texas System for educational excellence. There are three classes of the award, and Professor Schmidt received the tenured faculty award, which carries with it $30,000 remuneration.

The Chancellor's Council Outstanding Teaching Award recognizes a senior faculty member for a distinguished career in teaching at the undergraduate level. This is one of the highest awards given at The University of Texas at Austin for teaching and there is only one recipient each year. The award is given to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding commitment and dedication to teaching excellence.

Dr. Carolyn Seepersad awarded the 2010 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award and the Dean's Award for Outstanding Teaching by an Assistant Professor

photo of Carolyn Seepersad, Colleen McHugh, Francisco Cigarroa, and  Robert Stillwell.

Carolyn Seepersad is presented with the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award by (left to right) Board of Regents Chair Colleen McHugh, Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, M.D., and Regent Robert Stillwell.

Biography

Carolyn Conner Seepersad received her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 2004 from the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. As a graduate student, she was a Hertz Fellow and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from West Virginia University in 1996, a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar in 1998, and a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2001. She is currently an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin.

Award Descriptions

The 2010 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award is awarded by The University of Texas Systems' Board of Regents. This award is given in recognition of those who serve The University of Texas Systems' undergraduate students in an exemplary manner. Dr. Seepersad is one of 17 tenure-track faculty in The University of Texas System to win this award.

The Dean's Award for Outstanding Teaching by an Assistant Professor is awarded to only one assistant professor each year in the Cockrell School. It is given to faculty who demonstrate extraordinary classroom performance and innovation at the undergraduate level. This is the second year the awards have been given. The award was made officially on May 21, 2010 during a luncheon and again during graduation.

Dr. Michael Webber awarded the 2010-11 Dads' Association Centennial Teaching Fellowship

Dr. Michael Webber

Dr. Michael Webber

Biography

Michael Webber is the Associate Director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy in the Jackson School of Geosciences, Fellow of the Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, where he trains a new generation of energy leaders through research and education.

Dr. Webber's education includes a B.A. with High Honors (Plan II Liberal Arts) and B.S. with High Honors (Aerospace Engineering) from The University of Texas at Austin, and an M.S. (Mechanical Engineering) and Ph.D. (Mechanical Engineering, Minor in Electrical Engineering) from Stanford University, where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow from 1995-1998.

Award Description

The Dads' Association Centennial Teaching Fellowships were established by The University of The University of Texas Systems' Board of Regents in 1983 with funds raised by The University of Texas at Austin Dads' Association and matching funds under the Centennial Teachers and Scholars Program. Selection of faculty members appointed as Dads' Association Centennial Teaching Fellows is based upon recommendations from the deans of colleges and schools offering courses for freshman undergraduates.

Senior Lecturer Billy Wood wins the 2010 Student Engineering Council Teaching Award and the Students with Disabilities Appreciation Award

photo of Billy Wood and Collier Miers.

Senior Lecturer Billy Wood accepts the Mechanical Engineering Student Engineering Council teaching award from Collier Miers.

Biography

Billy Wood is a senior lecturer in the ME Department. Senior Lecturer Wood received his B.S. in Engineering Technology in 1974 and his M.S. in Architecture in 1977, both from Texas A&M University. He began his teaching career at The University of Texas at Austin in 1980 with the Department of Mechanical Engineering teaching engineering drafting. He currently teaches ME 210 and ME 302, both engineering graphics courses for freshmen and sophomores that introduce students to both manual and digital design techniques, as well as three-dimensional modeling. Students design and produce models for designs pertinent to their particular field of study. Mr. Wood has won several awards for his teaching over the years and is often cited for his encouragement of students just entering the engineering program.

In 2010 he initiated a Maymester Study Abroad program, which will continue in the coming years. In the monthlong program, students are in class or labs all day four days a week. On the long weekends Wood arranges tours of manufacturing concerns, buildings, museums, and group trips for the students. He has 23 students signed up for the 2011 Maymester class, also to be held in Vienna.

Award Descriptions

The Student Engineering Council (SEC), a student organization affiliated with the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin presents annual teaching awards to a faculty member from each of its departments annually. The 2010 winner from the Department of Mechanical Engineering was Senior Lecturer Billy Wood. The CAD drawing and drafting class is a required course for all mechanical, civil and aerospace engineering students. From 1993-2004, Mr. Wood served as the Undergraduate Student Advisor for the undergraduate office in the department.

Each semester, the staff of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) asks students to nominate faculty and staff members who positively contribute to their academic endeavors at the University. In 2009, Billy Wood was nominated for the award. SSD has presented Mr. Wood with a commemorative clock as a token of their appreciation for all of his efforts.

Dr. Kristin Wood honored with the 2010 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award and the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award

photo of Kristin Wood, Colleen McHugh, Francisco Cigarroa, and Robert Stillwell.

Kristin Wood is presented with the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award by (left to right) Board of Regents Chair Colleen McHugh, Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, M.D., and Regent Robert Stillwell.

Biography

Dr. Kristin Wood is the Cullen Trust for Higher Education Endowed Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Wood completed his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering (Division of Engineering and Applied Science) at the California Institute of Technology, where he was an AT&T Bell Laboratories Ph.D. scholar. He received his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science (Magna cum Laude, minor in mathematics) from Colorado State University.

Dr. Wood's research contributes to the fields of design theory and methodology, computer integrated engineering, design for manufacture (including tolerance design and automation techniques), applied mechanics in the design of mechanical components and assemblies, and the design of micro-electromechanical systems.

Award Descriptions

Dr. Wood was honored with the 2010 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award, awarded by The University of Texas Systems' Board of Regents. This award is given in recognition of those who serve The University of Texas Systems' undergraduate students in an exemplary manner. Dr. Wood is one of 38 tenured faculty in The University of Texas System to win this award.

Dr. Wood also received the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award for the Engineering Science Department, College of Engineering, Colorado State University. Each year, the College of Engineering honors one outstanding alumnus from each of their academic departments. The award ceremony was held in Fort Collins, Colorado on the Colorado State University Campus in the Lory Student Center on April 17, 2010.

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