Three MechSE faculty were recently recognized with honors for their impactful teaching.Associate Professor Randy Ewoldt, Assistant Professor Sameh Tawfick, and Teaching Assistant Professor Bruce Flachsbart have earned the 2020 MechSE Alumni Effective Teaching Awards. Flachsbart was named the winner of the Five-Year Effective Teaching Award, and Ewoldt and Tawfick were named the winners of the Two-Year Alumni Effective Teaching Award.
For more than 30 years the MechSE Alumni Board has sponsored two Alumni Effective Teaching Awards. The awards were established so that alumni two and five years into their professional careers have the opportunity to honor faculty whose teaching they now perceive as having had the greatest impact on their careers. They are voted on by former students to recognize truly outstanding teaching in the department.Additionally, Ewoldt and Flachsbart were recognized at the campus level for their impact on the graduates of the class of 2019. Selected through the Chancellor’s Senior Survey, they were two of 38 faculty and staff who were identified by 10 or more students through the survey. The survey is completed by graduating seniors and addresses their learning experiences, participation in activities, campus climate, and overall satisfaction with their time at Illinois.
In the past few years, Ewoldt has taught many introductory courses in MechSE, such as ME 310, ME 470, TAM 251, and TAM 435.“We have an intellectually stimulating environment at Illinois with people who are also caring. We strive for excellence, but also collaboration,” said Ewoldt. “This combination of smart and nice is one of the special things here. When students reflect on their time at Illinois, I hope they can find examples of this and be influenced by it. It’s a joy to teach and work with the excellent students at Illinois.”
Flachsbart is known for teaching several of MechSE’s undergraduate design courses, including ME 270 and ME 370. He is also director of the Engineering Student Project Laboratory (ESPL), where he assists 10 project teams, including the car teams, with safety and project management.
He said he believes his approach to learning is what helped him leave a lasting impact on students.
“I try to listen to understand what others want to accomplish, and then try to find ways to help them realize their goals – from doing better in a class, to finishing a project, to finding a solution to a problem, to being a more successful RSO. Everyone needs people around them to help them realize their dreams – everything from providing encouragement, to brainstorming ideas from a different perspective, to taking time to help solve a troubling problem,” Flachsbart said.