Civil and Environmental Engineering Wins Provost’s Excellence in Teaching Award

Date Published: 
October 27, 2014

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) has won the 2014 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching for its successful decade-long efforts to improve student learning and outcomes as measured by the Fundamentals of Engineering exam.

The UNC Charlotte Provost’s Office grants the Excellence in Teaching Award annually to an academic department, office or program in recognition of the collective responsibility of faculty members for maintaining high-quality teaching. Supported by funds from the UNC System Board of Governors, the award includes $5,000 for the winner and a plaque commemorating its achievements in teaching.

In announcing the award, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Joan Lorden applauded CEE faculty for “designing and implementing activities that continue to improve performance while enhancing classroom understanding and developing a sense of professionalism in the student body.”

The award nomination highlighted the department’s documented efforts that have improved student learning and outcomes. “In particular, CEE faculty members have made significant teaching adjustments that engage all required courses, culminating in enhanced student performance on a national exam. The department’s collective efforts involved nearly all members of the faculty for nearly a decade without any additional funding or classroom support. The effort was entirely self-organized, yet exceedingly methodical in terms of planning and execution.”

“Our faculty coalesced around a common goal, excellence in undergraduate engineering education,” said CEE Department Chair Dr. John Daniels. “There are collateral pathways to competence and we use every one of them to reach every student. A byproduct of this has been exemplary performance by our students on the national Fundamentals of Engineering Exam.”

The department’s FE Review Committee included faculty members Jim Bowen, Kimberly Warren, Marty Kane and Dave Naylor. Other faculty included FE material into their courses and provided valuable review sessions.

“What is impressive to me is the persistence and the scope of the faculty involvement,” Dr. Daniels said “Everyone rallied together and did this for an extended period of time. It was a collective effort for nearly a decade.”

The FE exam is administered in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and is one of the requirements needed to become licensed as a registered Professional Engineer (PE). As a result of Civil and Environmental Engineering Department’s dedication to improving learner outcomes, the pass rate for students taking the October 2013 FE exam more than doubled from the January 2004 rate, and UNC Charlotte outperformed the national average by over 10 points.

From the left are Civil Engineering faculty members Janos Gergely,
Martin Kane, Erika Weber, Provost Joan Lorden, John Daniels and Sriniva Pulugurtha.