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Dr. Richard Felder - Don Woods Memorial Lecture

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Don was my teaching mentor and was probably the best known engineering educator in Canada and, of course, was a member of our very own faculty. If anything, Don was held in even higher regard in the U.S. through his work with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Our speaker will be Dr. Richard Felder from North Carolina State University. For my money, Rich is probably the best known teacher of engineering in the U.S. and was a big fan of Don Woods as his abstract (below) indicates. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Felder was the first recipient of the  ASEE Lifetime Achievement Award in Engineering Education (2012). He also co-founded (with Jim Stice) the National Effective Teaching Institute which has reached over 1000 participants from all engineering disciplines. Rich Felder is a giant in the field of Engineering Education.
As everyone who knows anything about chemical engineering education will tell you, Donald Woods was one of the most important people in the history of the field. He either invented or imported from other disciplines such teaching strategies as active learning, cooperative learning, and problem-based learning that are now household words in engineering education. He was as close as anyone could be to a living encyclopedia of pedagogy—an endless source of practical information about teaching, learning, assessment of learning, and educational research. Don also had a profound personal influence on me. He was one of two individuals who first gave me the idea that it was possible to make teaching the focus of one’s academic career at a research university and still be successful, and he remained a role model and personal friend throughout the years after I changed my focus from engineering science to education. In this talk I will share some stories about my personal journey (including something about that notorious stoichiometry textbook with my name on it) and what I believe about the present and future of chemical engineering education, with comments about Don’s influence on both the journey and the beliefs.