Missouri S&T civil engineering professor wins national teaching award

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On April 17, 2018

A longtime Missouri S&T professor has received the top teaching honor from a national civil engineering honor society.

Dr. David Richardson, Chancellor’s Professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering, received the James M. Robbins Excellence in Teaching Award from the Chi Epsilon national civil engineering honor society earlier this month.

Dr. Joel Burken, who nominated his colleague, cited a teaching track record that includes 11 separate graduate and undergraduate courses — four of which Richardson created — taken by more than 4,000 students, from large lectures to small lab sessions.

“No matter what size or level of class, or type of student, Dave typically receives some of the highest student ratings for the quality of his teaching in our department,” says Burken, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering and department chair. “He is continually trying to increase his understanding of the technical material being presented in his courses, and continually trying to be more proficient in his role as the students’ learning facilitator.

“As a result, Dave is one of the most respected professionals in concrete and asphalt in Missouri, hosting professional conferences and continuing education for years.”

Richardson has taught at Missouri S&T since 1984 and has received 18 national and campus teaching awards, as well as 12 faculty and professional awards. He holds three degrees in civil engineering from the university, is a registered professional engineer in two states, a fellow of the American Concrete Institute, and member of the Missouri S&T Academy of Civil Engineers. He also has spent 20 years as director of a certification and training program for state transportation workers hosted at S&T and has authored over 60 publications.

His research interests include durability of concrete, use of alternative sustainable materials in concrete and masonry, concrete mix design procedures, concrete aggregate gradation optimization, pavement drainage, asphalt pavement design, asphalt pavement preservation and management, aggregate pavement base characterization, and soil subgrade properties.

“Successful teaching should be viewed as student-learning facilitation,” Richardson says. “The successful teacher should be passionate about the subject matter and willing to devote great personal effort in self-education about all aspects of the subject matter.

“The successful teacher also should present coursework from a holistic point of view,” he adds. “That means knitting together all aspects of the subject —both theoretical and extremely practical — into a coherent concept, rather than just covering certain individual, seemingly unrelated topics.”

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