Professors Lui, Moon named recipients of 2009 L.C. Smith Award for Faculty Excellence
Professors Lui, Moon named recipients of 2009 L.C. Smith Award for Faculty ExcellenceApril 29, 2009Tricia Hopkinsthopkins@syr.edu
Professors Eric Lui and Young Moon both have visions for enhancing the learning experience for students in Syracuse University’s L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (LCS).
Lui, a Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, believes that the effectiveness of existing Academic Excellence Workshops (AEW) for a sequence of math calculus courses can be enhanced through a new learning paradigm.
Moon, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and director of the Institute for Manufacturing Enterprises, believes in the need for and benefit of a course in sustainable manufacturing.
Both Lui and Moon’s visions will come to fruition through their receipt of the 2009 L.C. Smith Award for Faculty Excellence. The award was established last year through a $25,000 gift to the college from chemical engineering alumnus Brian Beals ’64 , a member of the Chemical Engineering Department Advisory Board, and his wife, Emily, of Jasper, Ga. It is modeled after a summer stipend program at DePauw University, Emily’s alma mater, designed to help faculty create and engage in their own professional development.
The Beals’ gift was matched by LCS: Lui will receive $25,000 to fund his proposal on “Enhancing the Math AEW Sections Using Memetic and Cognitive Approaches,” and Moon will receive $25,000 to fund his proposal, “Development of a New Course on Sustainable Manufacturing.”
Lui and Moon’s proposals were recommended for the award by a committee of peers represented by the four departments within LCS and chaired by John Heydweiller, associate professor, director of the college’s chemical engineering program and interim chair of the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering.
“Both of Dr. Lui’s and Dr. Moon’s proposals will have wonderful impacts on our students and will help advance the strategic vision and mission of LCS,” says Dean Laura J. Steinberg. “My thanks go to Brian and Emily Beals for their generous award that made this gift possible and for giving our faculty the opportunity to think creatively about how we can enhance the experience our students receive at LCS.”
Lui has proposed applying a memetic/cognitive learning approach to the calculus sequence of math courses (MAT 295, MAT 296 and MAT 397) required for all LCS undergraduates. To do this, he proposes the development of a series of visually and cognitive-based computer learning modules that use specific math software to help students learn calculus. The project involves working with graduate assistants to develop the modules, training the AEW facilitators to use the software, incorporating the modules into the AEW sections, and assessing their effectiveness. In addition, Lui and the graduate assistants will act as liaisons to the instructors of introductory LCS courses so discipline-specific example problems can be solicited and incorporated into the learning modules.
“The proposed computer learning software differs from the math software the students are already using in the introductory courses in that the former stresses the learning aspect while the latter stresses the solution aspect of a math problem,” Lui says. “If different steps to arrive at the solution are carefully outlined and explained, the ability of the student to grasp the essence of the procedure and understand what needs to be done to arrive at the solution can be greatly improved.”
Lui says successful implementation of the new approach in a year or so will heighten the interest of LCS students in math and calculus, enhance the effectiveness of the AEW sections, illustrate the relevancy of math in solving engineering and computer science problems, and help improve the LCS student retention rate.
Moon plans to develop a course in sustainable manufacturing in which students will learn the vision of sustainable manufacturing and its relation to larger societal issues; methods, techniques and tools available for developing sustainable products and sustainable manufacturing processes and systems; and how to measure sustainable manufacturing processes and effective strategies for deploying sustainable manufacturing.
“While numerous progresses have been made toward the goal of sustainability, sustainable manufacturing is still a poorly understood concept and often considered a contradiction to best manufacturing practices and eventual business successes,” says Moon. “Sustainable manufacturing requires a holistic view, to complete a product lifecycle from the moment of conceiving new product ideas until the end of the product life, while simultaneously considering the impact of decisions made in each phase of the manufacturing activity on sustainability.
“In this proposed course, manufacturing will mean not only material transformation processes but also manufacturing systems, including supply-chain considerations for sustainability,” he says.
Moon will inject that type of systems thinking into the course in two ways-through the adoption of a broadened definition of manufacturing and a semester-long project of developing sustainable products.
The course will be developed over the next year, and Moon plans to make it available to LCS juniors and seniors in the Spring 2010 semester. An additional course for non-engineers may also be developed in the future.