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Siston tapped as member of university Faculty FIT mentoring program

Associate Professor Rob Siston is the epitome of superior teaching, selected as a member of the inaugural class of 20 mentors as part of the launch of the University Institute for Teaching and Learning’s Faculty FIT: Foundation, Impact, Transformation program to welcome new Ohio State faculty.

The institute supports a call President Michael V. Drake made during his investiture address in March 2015 to make Ohio State as highly regarded for teaching and learning as it is for research.  Its mission is to integrate and enhance ongoing teaching and learning efforts and elevate their visibility and importance across the university and beyond.

The institute will focus on four key areas: instructional development support; research to measure effectiveness of teaching outcomes; policy development concerning faculty roles, review and rewards; and communication to share success stories and learn from other institutions.  Proceeds from a $10 million endowment from Nike will fund the institute.

The Faculty FIT program connects new faculty with experienced and successful teachers.  The year-long curriculum will offer an introduction to teaching at Ohio State, early connections to the teaching culture and faculty community, resources and strategies for learning engagement and evidence-based teaching practices.  Kay Halasek, associate professor, Department of English and director of the Institute noted that the Institute has already begun partnering with numerous offices and programs on campus.  “We are poised to make meaningful contributions to faculty engagement in teaching and by extension, students’ learning experiences.”

Siston, part of an elite class of outstanding teachers at Ohio State, is director of the Neuromuscular Biomechanics Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering where he teaches classes in biomechanics and mechanical design.  His students use principles of mechanical engineering to develop a scientific basis for the treatment of human movement disorders.

Siston earned a BS degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio State, MS and PhD degrees from Stanford University and began teaching at Ohio State in 2006.  He is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, including the

department’s Excellence in Teaching Award, the College of Engineering’s Boyer Award for Excellence in Teaching Innovations and David C. McCarthy Engineering Teaching Award, and the university’s Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Siston believes that teaching students is the most important role that faculty have at Ohio State and is pleased that President Drake is making it a priority.  “We have a tremendous opportunity not only to train our students for future careers but to strongly influence their lives,” he said. 

For the Faculty FIT program, Siston is mentoring three faculty who are in psychiatry, horticulture-crop science and art.  “It will be a good and exciting challenge, that is for sure,” he said.