University of Missouri System President Mun Choi surprised a Missouri S&T faculty member with a President’s Award at a faculty meeting today (Thursday, March 22). Dr. Nicolas Libre, assistant teaching professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering, was recognized as the first recipient of 10 awards that the president will give in 2018.
Choi, accompanied by Missouri S&T Interim Chancellor Chris Maples, recognized Libre with the President’s Award for Innovative Teaching, which includes a $5,000 prize. The award celebrates faculty who use innovative teaching methods, including electronic resources or experiential activities that have a major impact on students or faculty.
For the last five years, Libre has incorporated and refined teaching techniques that have improved student learning. Through interactive eBooks published by Apple for mobile devices, students in Libre’s classes were able to enhance their learning environments through 3-D models, videos and animations, and homework problems. Libre also shared grading applications with other faculty members to help determine if students are struggling with concepts presented in the classroom. Many of these resources are open source, meaning they are free and reduce the cost of student education.
“Dr. Libre’s impact on engineering education at Missouri S&T is wide ranging,” says Dr. F. Scott Miller, teaching professor and associate chair for undergraduates in materials science and engineering at S&T. “He has developed a Mechanics of Materials application that assists students in modelling and understanding, as well as a series of YouTube videos to explain the concepts in his classes that have been viewed by students all over the world. He is very gracious in sharing his ideas and methods to improve engineering education, and I have deep respect for his methods.”
Libre creates video recordings of the material that will be covered in future classes for his students. In his videos, he not only explains the concepts, but also works examples to further imprint the ideas presented in the course.
The UM System President’s Awards are presented annually to faculty members across the four campuses of the UM System who have made exceptional contributions in advancing the mission of the university. Choi will formally recognize Libre during an awards celebration in June.