West named Severns Faculty Scholar


The Grainger College of Engineering honors Associate Professor Matt West for his contributions toward new and impactful teaching techniques.

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Matt West
Matt West

MechSE associate professor Matt West received a new honor from The Grainger College of Engineering for his contribution to engineering education.

The William H. Severns Faculty Scholar named appointment recognizes West for demonstrating “significant and sustained impact on the development of new and impactful teaching techniques, broadening the educational experience of engineering students, and/or motivating the education of engineering students through bringing practical, real-world experiences into the classroom.” The honor is named after late mechanical engineering professor William H. Severns.

West has been heavily involved in improving student experiences through funding from SIIP and AE3. He is the creator of PrairieLearn, a first-of-its-kind online skill training system to help provide more individualized education and support to students. He is also the co-director of the Computer Based Testing Facility. He has held positions across campus that demonstrate his dedication to education. He also co-created and directed summer camps for teens, and sat on multiple committees relating to improving campus courses and assessment. He has won numerous awards at the campus and college level for his work. Additionally, he published six peer-reviewed conference papers on the topic of teaching-related research, with several at highly selective conferences.

West was one of just three to be named a Severns Faculty Scholar, including Computer Science professor Craig Zilles and Aerospace Engineering professor Tim Bretl – both of whom often work closely with West on collaborative efforts to improve classroom teaching.

West earned his PhD in control and dynamical systems from Caltech in 2004 and joined MechSE in 2008. In addition to his award-winning instruction, his research program focuses on asynchronous and structure-preserving integrators, stochastic simulation and uncertainty quantification, and multi-scale and multi-physics simulations. He has investigated the use of computers to simulate problems with fluids and boundaries, such as droplets in an engine injector system or the inflation of gas inside an airbag.

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This story was published June 4, 2021.