Engineering Faculty Recognized Nationally for Teaching Contributions

Front: Chancellor Emeritus, John White, Mary Lib White, Kim LaScola Needy, Ajay Malshe, Kevin Hall and Norm Dennis. Back: Eric Specking, Tish Pohl, Heather Nachtmann, Bryan Hill and Joe Rencis.
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Front: Chancellor Emeritus, John White, Mary Lib White, Kim LaScola Needy, Ajay Malshe, Kevin Hall and Norm Dennis. Back: Eric Specking, Tish Pohl, Heather Nachtmann, Bryan Hill and Joe Rencis.

The American Society for Engineering Education heard from multiple University of Arkansas faculty members in mid-June, and three faculty members earned awards in national recognition of their contributions to the work of educating the next generation of engineers.

Known as ASEE, the American Society for Engineering Education held its 126th Annual Conference & Exposition in Tampa, Florida, June 16-19.


Kim Needy, left, and Tish Pohl

Kim LaScola Needy, dean of the Graduate School and International Education, received the Engineering Management Division Merl Baker Award. The award is given for exemplary service to the Engineering Management Division and is named for Merl Baker, who served as the last dean of the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy and first chancellor of the university of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology). Dr. Baker helped launch a pioneering degree program in engineering management on the Rolla Campus.

Letitia "Tish" Pohl, assistant teaching professor of industrial engineering, was the recipient of the Industrial Engineering Division Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes exemplary service to the Industrial Engineering Division and is presented to a member of the division who has provided significant service to the division. Pohl is the undergraduate advisor for the Industrial Engineering Department. In this role, she advises over 200 students on a regular basis each semester, in addition to teaching five courses throughout the academic year.

Photo of Benjamin Runkle on location for research.
Benjamin Runkle

Benjamin Runkle, assistant professor of biological and agricultural engineering, was recognized for his early-career teaching success. He joined the U of A in 2014. He teaches courses in sustainable watershed engineering and modeling environmental biophysics - both senior-level courses in biological engineering. He earned a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development award in 2018, known as a CAREER award, for his success as a teacher and researcher.

Chancellor Emeritus John White gave a talk titled, "56-Year Love Affair Revelations." Drawing on his extensive career in higher education, Professor White shared his "Keys to 'A's in Teaching." White retired in May after 11 years as a professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering.

Having taught more than 4,000 engineering students at Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech, his lecture included lessons learned and decision points from throughout his journey, as well as the role luck played in taking him from being a practicing engineer to being the chancellor at his undergraduate alma mater. 

Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering Ajay Malshe said even after his own years of experience, he found the presentation insightful.

"The talk, like always, was a symphony orchestra of rich messages, experiences, stories and humor," he said.

About ASEE: The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) was initially founded as the Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education (SPEE) in 1893. Currently, ASEE administers over ten government contracts, including the prestigious National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program. The only engineering education society dedicated to the professional needs of engineering educators across all disciplines, ASEE connects members to a world of research and a wealth of information. The publications, conferences, professional development workshops and online tools provided by ASEE give members access to the best practices and important trends in engineering education

Contacts

Tamara Ellenbecker, website developer
Department of Industrial Engineering
479-575-3157, tellenb@uark.edu

Nick DeMoss, director of communications
College of Engineering
479-575-5697, ndemoss@uark.edu

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