Dr. Ralph Flori Jr., assistant dean of engineering for pre-college and undergraduate programs in the School of Engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla, has been picked to receive the 2005 National Outstanding Teaching Award from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).
Flori will accept the award during the society’s annual conference June 15 in Portland, Ore. ASEE is the national organization for engineering educators.
"Dr. Flori is an exceptional teacher and leader at UMR and in ASEE," says Dr. Robert Mitchell, dean of the UMR School of Engineering. "He has gone the extra mile to work with high school students and our new engineering students at UMR. He has provided excellent leadership with the Jackling Intro to Engineering summer program for high school students.
"When UMR and Rolla High School wanted to offer a UMR engineering design class at RHS, he offered to teach it in addition to his other responsibilities," Mitchell adds. "When the students at Rolla High School didn’t have local access to the software we used at UMR, he obtained a donation from a vendor and learned the new software just so the students could have daily access to state of the art design software. In ASEE, he has chaired two divisions, and he organized a highly successful ASEE Midwest Section meeting held at UMR in September 2003."
In addition to his teaching and research duties at UMR, Flori is leading Missouri’s efforts in Project Lead the Way, a national high school and middle school pre-engineering curriculum designed to steer more young people toward careers in technology and engineering.
Flori earned his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in petroleum engineering from UMR in 1979, 1981 and 1987, respectively. Prior to joining the UMR faculty in 1990, Flori worked in the petroleum industry for AMOCO and performed geological engineering-related work for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. In addition, he helped research and develop new materials, such as ceramic superconducting filaments and bioresorbable composites for Mo-Sci Corp.
Flori has received many awards for teaching. A 13-time recipient of UMR’s Outstanding Teaching Award, he also has received the ASEE Midwest Section Outstanding Teaching Award, the MSM-UMR Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award, Tau Beta Pi’s Outstanding Engineering Professor Award from its UMR chapter, a UMR Faculty Excellence Award, and a UM System Faculty Performance Shares Award. In addition, he was one of six selected as a 2004 Deans Teaching Scholar at UMR.
Flori’s academic interests include statics, dynamics and mechanics of materials. He has teamed with other faculty to develop multimedia-based educational software with the aim of transforming how these subjects are taught and learned.