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Faculty recognized for outstanding teaching, graduate student support and service

During its spring 2018 board meeting held on April 20, the External Advisory Board recognized Sandra Metzler, Mo Samimy and Cliff Whitfield for their exemplary teaching, graduate student support and service, respectively.

“We are very grateful to have so many faculty members in the department who enrich our student experience,” said Department Chair Vish Subramaniam. “Sandra, Mo and Cliff represent the best of what our faculty bring to the department every day. Teaching, mentoring and supporting students and providing service to higher education are at the heart of what it means to be a professor.”

Michael J. Moran Excellence in Teaching Award

Metzler with External Adivsory Board member Scott Schaeffer during the award presentationMetzler with External Adivsory Board member Scott Schaeffer during the award presentationAssistant Professor of Practice Sandra Metzler received the 2018 Michael J. Moran Excellence in Teaching Award for her exceptional dedication to teaching undergraduate students. Named in 1990 in honor of long-time department faculty member—and now professor emeritus—Michael J. Moran, awardees are selected who exhibit similar dedication to undergraduate education as he did throughout his accomplished career.

“Sandra smoked the student evaluations, getting mostly five out of five ratings,” quipped External Advisory Board member Scott Schaeffer during the award presentation. He described “the students being effusive with praise” in their evaluations of her teaching.

Metzler teaches courses for the mechanical engineering capstone design sequence and has been extremely innovative in keeping courses and their content relevant. In addition to updating subject matter, she has added design projects to promote application of theory and has shifted focus to include an introduction to microprocessors.

Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies Blaine Lilly described Metzler’s success in the department. “She’s one of the most creative teachers we have, and in addition to all that, she runs the Maker Club.”

Other initiatives for which Metzler has been praised include developing a demanding and highly sought after course in smart products, revising another course in which students are able to obtain certification in Solidworks design software and serving as a mentor to undergraduate students.

Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award

Samimy with External Adivsory Board member Lynn Faulkner during the award presentationSamimy with External Adivsory Board member Lynn Faulkner during the award presentationThe 2018 Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award was presented to Professor Mo Samimy in recognition of his exceptional support and guidance to graduate students. Established in 2014, the award focuses on excellence in classroom teaching, graduate curriculum development, thesis advising and professional development, research advising and mentoring.

During his accomplished career, which began in 1985, Samimy has mentored over 100 postdoctoral, doctoral, masters and honors students. He established and served as founding director of the university’s Aerospace Research Center from August 2013 to November 2018 and is the John B. Nordholt Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Additionally, he directs activities at the Gas Dynamics and Turbulence Laboratory, with research interests focused on flow and acoustics control, fluid dynamics and aerodynamics, aeroacoustics and turbulence. He is the lead editor of a book entitled A Gallery of Fluid Motion, published by Cambridge University Press. The book is widely used for research and teaching and presents the art and science of fluid motion.

During the award presentation, Lynn Faulkner, member of the department’s External Advisory Board, described the positive student feedback that led to the selection of Samimy as award recipient. “Students state he is an excellent teacher” and “a well-prepared and knowledgeable instructor.”

“His advised students have received over 40 national and Ohio State fellowships,” he continued. “Many of these graduates have obtained excellent positions in academia and various industries.”

Characterized by his patient dedication, graduate students know Samimy as a consistent and personable mentor. They describe that he takes into account individual interests, talents and capabilities as he helps prepare them for future careers.

“I’m honored and humbled to receive this award,” commented Samimy. “It has been a pleasure and privilege to work with so many talented young minds and help them in achieving their professional goals. I have learned as much from them as they have learned from me.”

Service to Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Award

Whitfield with Department Chair Vish Subramaniam during the award presentationWhitfield with Department Chair Vish Subramaniam during the award presentationIn addition to the long-standing teaching and student support awards, 2018 saw the inaugural presentation of the Service to Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Award. The first awardee was Assistant Professor of Practice Cliff Whitfield, who received the citation based on his contributions of service to the department over the past year.

Whitfield’s notable service was comprised of leading the aeronautical and astronautical engineering program’s reaccreditation efforts for the international Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET), which aims to ensure undergraduate programs meet or exceed its high standards. He, along with the department’s Continuous Quality Improvement Committee, created an in-depth report demonstrating tools and best practices for maintaining a high-achieving aeronautical and astronautical program. The report’s procedures and best practices were showcased at the ABET Symposium as strategies replicable by other institutions.

"I'm very happy to serve with other faculty and staff in continually striving to provide the highest quality education and academic experiences for our students," said Whitfield. His practice areas and research interests include manned and unmanned flight vehicle conceptual design, atmospheric flight vehicle configuration layout, multidisciplinary flight vehicle design analysis and optimization and applied aerodynamics and airframe/engine integration. Additionally, he serves as advisor to the student Design/Build/Fly team.

Subramaniam greatly appreciated the work done by Whitfield and the committee. “Our students can benefit from the exceptional effort by our faculty in ensuring that they receive a world-class education that will prepare them to become leaders in their fields,” he said.

The annual awards presented by the department aim to recognize the outstanding efforts faculty put forth in enabling student success.