July 13, 2015Professors Shikha Nangia, Pranav Soman, and Svetoslava Todorova have received this year’s Faculty Excellence Awards. The awards provide summer funding for faculty to develop innovative new educational student experiences. Professor Shikha Nangia – Enhancing the Teaching and Learning of Chemical Thermodynamics Using Active-Learning Pedagogies Nangia will develop interactive web-based simulations that will transform fundamental chemical engineering concepts into hands-on, active learning applications. The interactive applications will simulate realistic physical systems in two-dimensional graphs, equations, and diagrams. Simulations will be used to generate conceptual questions, and the students will be asked to work in teams, and make predictions of the expected results. This teaching activity will foster inquiry, initiative, and teamwork among students. Professor Pranav Soman – Hands-on Teaching Laboratory for Additive Biomanufacturing and Prototyping Education Soman’s award will fund a 3D bioprinting teaching laboratory in the College and introduce a series of related learning modules in his graduate and undergraduate courses. Students will be trained to operate 3D prototyping software and hardware, learn about the mechanical properties and chemical differences in commonly used polymers, and be challenged to design and print biopolymer scaffolds. Their experience in the laboratory will provide basic experimental and research skills necessary to pursue careers as independent engineers and researchers working in biomanufacturing. Professor Svetoslava Todorova – Using Simulations As An Experiential Learning Tool For Enhancing Students Learning Todorova will introduce two immersive, experiential learning modules in her Introduction to Environmental Engineering course. In simulations of the United Nations' negotiations on global mercury contamination and the litigation of two high-profile groundwater contamination trials, students will be challenged to affect the outcome of a decision based on the scientific knowledge gained in class. In addition, they will develop skills in collaborative decision-making, interest-based negotiation, scientific argumentation, and persuasive speaking. The Faculty Excellence Awards are made possible by the generosity of chemical engineering alumnus and department advisory board member Brian Beals ’64 and his wife, Emily.