2020 Awards for Innovations in Teaching and Learning

August 19, 2019
Submitted By: Office of Marketing and Communication
photo of Reihaneh Jamshidi
Reihaneh Jamshidi
photo of Linda Moran
Linda Moran
photo of Kiwon Sohn
Kiwon Sohn
photo of Shirley Wang
Shirley Wang

The University’s annual Awards for Innovations in Teaching and Learning recognize faculty members who have shown exceptional dedication, innovation, and effectiveness in the classroom through recent and specific achievements in teaching. The 2020 winners were announced during the virtual faculty-staff kickoff yesterday. This year’s awardees:

Reihaneh Jamshidi, assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture, designed and added a simulation module based on Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to the course Mechanical Engineering Materials. With the new module, it is now feasible to simultaneously harness the power of simulations for predicting and visualizing results of material testing, and provide a virtual lab that can be easily deployed when necessary. This effort represents a fresh, innovative approach to creative teaching and learning—and the value of virtual engineering labs has never been greater than during the current pandemic. "While most modern textbooks incorporate basic FEA theory," explains Professor of Mechanical Engineering Ivana Milanovic, "FEA is typically not used to teach the concepts of machine design and materials. Dr. Jamshidi’s work illustrates that it is possible to use FEA to teach fundamental engineering topics, and, conversely, to use the very same engineering topics to teach FEA. Dr. Jamshidi is the first faculty in CETA to apply FEA this early in curriculum and to strategically couple it with the laboratory portion of the course."

Linda Moran, assistant professor and department chair of academic strategies in Hillyer College, has turned her creative sophomore Hillyer honors class into much more than a course. She is preparing students to become leaders who can make a difference in their corner of the world. "Her work with students on service learning and then public display of their projects has been a source of inspiration for students, a builder of key attitudes and skills for our difficult times, and generative of future activism," says Marcia Bundy Seabury, professor and chair in the Department of English, Hillyer College. "These students are not the typical presenters in a Shaw Center poster session, not upperclassmen discussing work in their majors. Rather, these are 'typical' underclassmen. Further, many Hillyer students lack self-confidence. But Professor Moran has clearly coached them well as presenters, to stand proud, speak clearly, and advocate for their work." 

Kiwon Sohn, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture, has successfully adopted integrative learning strategies that have allowed students to benefit from knowledge and techniques from various disciplines essential to robotics. He has used various new technologies to enhance both in-person and remote studies of robotics using interdisciplinary research, and has worked tirelessly to develop effective teaching materials that allow his courses to keep pace with rapidly changing technology—and to challenge students to reach their full potential. "Dr. Sohn’s particular area is humanoid robotics, which further adds elements of biology and physiology to robotic systems," says Patricia Mellodge, associate professor in the Samuel I. Ward Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). "Students taking the ECE robotics course sequence benefit from his vast experience working with a wide range of robotic systems. Not only are these courses popular with students, but they also attract students from a variety of majors in engineering and computer science.”

Shirley Wang, assistant professor of management in the Barney School of Business, has introduced in her Management and Organizational Behavior course a new business simulation in the form of a computer game that simulates what it is like to run a business. Students step into the shoes of an executive board and make a series of decisions in the face of four crisis situations. Her students immerse themselves in business practice and learn about managing personnel, finances, operations, and delegation of authority and teamwork. Wang, in a fun way that students love, is developing leadership and decision-making skills. "Dr. Wang’s efforts toward identifying a new learning tool for Management 310, a core course for the Barney School, has provided excellent results for students’ learning and enjoyment of this course," says Associate Professor of Management Daphne Berry. "In addition, she has provided other faculty teaching the course with useful data and options for a different course learning tool."