PULLMAN, Wash.—Washington State University chemical engineering professor Bernard Van Wie is the inaugural recipient of the WSU Innovation in Teaching Award, presented by the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President and the WSU Teaching Academy.

The award recognizes full-time WSU faculty members who have developed “truly innovative teaching tools and formats that enhance the depth and quality of the student-learning experience” and who have assessed the effectiveness of the innovation and its impact outside of WSU.

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Dr. Bernard J. Van Wie receives the inaugural WSU Innovation in Teaching Award from Dr. J. Thomas Dickinson.

Presenting the award at spring WSU Undergraduate Education ceremonies was J. Thomas Dickinson, Regents professor in physics and an original member of the WSU Teaching Academy. He said, “Dr. Van Wie was selected as first recipient of this award for many reasons, but they all center on his sustained effort for the past 20 years or so to create, test, commercialize, and assess his unique set of instructional tools named ‘Desktop Learning Modules.’”

“These modules are used as a learning system to provide hands-on experiences that relate to recent material presented in a class. Students say the modules allow them to make real-world connections of measurements with the more theoretical material presented in lectures. Clearly, the modules encourage in-depth, critical thinking in an active learning environment.”

Dickinson noted that Van Wie has had support from the National Science Foundation to carry out his work, and that “the impact of these tools is considerable, and commercialization of the system has encouraged its use beyond WSU. There are users throughout the world.”

He said that “Dr. Van Wie has assessed the learning-module system through collaboration with colleagues in the College of Education. This has led to several publications that describe the system and its efficacy, giving it important exposure to other educators in his discipline.”

Van Wie earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering at Oklahoma University in Norman. He joined the chemical engineering faculty at WSU in 1983 and became a full professor in 1995.  He spent 10 months in 2007-2008 as a Fulbright Scholar at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria.

He has received several awards for his work, including WSU’s Marian Smith Outstanding Teaching Award as well as a grant from the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Teaching and Learning Endowment. He was named the outstanding teacher in chemical engineering for three years, and also its outstanding researcher one of those.

The Innovation in Teaching Award is WSU’s newest for teaching, and was announced in late 2015 when applications and nominations were opened to pre-tenured, tenured, and non-tenure track full-time WSU faculty.

Media contacts:

Mary F. Wack, WSU vice provost for undergraduate education, 509-335-8044, mwack@wsu.edu

Tom Dickinson, Regents Professor in Physics and member of the WSU Teaching Academy, 509-335-4914, jtd@wsu.edu