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CoE Faculty Honored As 150th Anniversary Professors

Two College of Engineering faculty members have been honored as 150th Anniversary Professors by Purdue’s Office of the Provost.

William Oakes, a professor of engineering education and director of Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS), and Charles Krousgrill, a professor of mechanical engineering, are among 10 Purdue faculty recognized with the award for their work as high-impact master teachers.

William Oakes, Professor of Engineering Education and Director of EPICS
William Oakes, Professor of Engineering Education and Director of EPICS

Oakes, who has a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Purdue, is a national and international leader in service learning. As director of EPICS, a service-learning design program that allows students to partner with local and global community organizations, Oakes has overseen the expansion of the program nationally and internationally to what is now a global consortium of 46 universities. Thousands of students have benefitted from the program since its inception in 1995; during spring semester 2017, there were 147 EPICS projects underway at Purdue.

Oakes has been recognized for his contributions to engineering education with multiple awards. He is a three-time recipient of the A.A. Potter Outstanding Teacher Award from the College of Engineering and the Best Teacher Award in First-Year Engineering. He is also the four-time recipient of the Learning Community Advocate Award. Oakes has earned national recognition for his work, including the American Society for Engineering Education’s C.F. Carlson Award for Innovation in Engineering Education, the National Society of Professional Engineers’ Education Excellence Award, and the Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service-Learning. He was also a co-recipient of the National Association of Engineers Bernard Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Educating.

Krousgrill, whose relationship with Purdue began as an undergraduate (BS ‘75) and continued when he joined the Mechanical Engineering faculty, has taught in the College of Engineering for 38 years. He is a pioneer in mechanics education, focusing on undergraduate education. Krousgrill is a founding fellow of Purdue’s University Teaching Academy and pioneer of the Freeform Classroom that since 2009 has allowed students in challenging engineering courses to access hundreds of instructional videos and animations while encouraging interaction with each other and faculty online.

Charles Krousgrill, Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Charles Krousgrill, Professor of Mechanical Engineering

“As an educator, I would like to feel that students in my class have learned how to learn. Our teaching cannot be just the presentation of facts or remembering equations and formulas. Students can always look up the facts and formulas on their own. Our students are best served if we can facilitate the learning of the fundamentals and how these principles fit together,” Krousgrill says.

Krousgrill’s numerous awards include being an eight-time recipient of the School of Mechanical Engineering’s Harry L. Solberg Best Teacher Award, which is selected by the School’s student body; a four- time recipient of the College of Engineering’s A.A. Potter Best Teacher Award; and a recipient of the University’s Murphy Undergraduate Teaching Award. Krousgrill was recognized by the Purdue Alumni Association in 2010 with the Special Boilermaker Award for his continual efforts to improve the undergraduate experience. In 2011, the American Society of Engineering Education gave him the Archie Higdon Distinguished Educator Award for educational accomplishments in his field.

Working with colleagues at the University of Virginia, University of Akron, and Smith College, Krousgrill has advanced mechanics education through the use of Web2.0 technologies, including blogs and wikis. He was honored with the 2010 Helping Students Learn Award in recognition of his creation of a virtual, personalized learning environment for the hundreds of students who take Purdue’s sophomore level dynamics course.

The 150th Anniversary Professors were selected by a committee of 13 senior faculty who are distinguished and named professors, winners of the Murphy Award, and members of the Teaching Academy. Faculty who receive the new designation will receive an annual discretionary allocation of $25,000.