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USF Engineering Professor Autar Kaw NAMED 2012 U.S. PROFESSOR OF THE YEAR

Autar Kaw

Autar Kaw, a University of South Florida mechanical engineering professor who was an early adopter of new technologies and social media to teach complex mathematical calculations, is 2012 U.S. Professor of the Year, an honor sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and administered by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

A USF professor for 25 years, Kaw is one of four professors selected from more than 300 nominees to receive the award, which is considered the nation’s highest honor for undergraduate teaching. Kaw was selected in the category of Outstanding Doctoral and Research Universities Professor of the Year.

Kaw was lauded for his innovative work in using technology and social media to reach millions of students around the world studying to be engineers. Known to engineering students around the world as the “Numerical Methods Guy”  through  his Holistic Numerical Methods Institute website, his blog and YouTube video lectures Kaw has dedicated  his career to eliminating one of the most significant obstacles to engineering students being successful by providing students everywhere free access to his lessons.

“The U.S. Professor of the Year award is the highest honor in the nation for undergraduate teaching and Dr. Kaw’s selection reaffirms what the University of South Florida and his students have long known about this exceptional professor and outstanding individual: His commitment to education and his dedication to his students knows no bounds,” said USF President Judy Genshaft.  “His innovative and forward-thinking approach to education, his use of technology to expand learning opportunities around the world and his tireless pursuit of new and engaging teaching methods has made a lasting difference in the education and lives of his students.”

His professional honors abound: Kaw is a fellow in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a member of the American Society of Engineering Education. In 2011, he was awarded the National Outstanding Teaching Medal from the American Society for Engineering Education. A prolific writer, he has authored four text books and scores of academic articles.

Long before anyone started talking about online learning or Massive Online Open Course – the so called “MOOCs” which are now taking higher education by storm – Kaw was exploring using technology to reach students. Kaw pursued funding for his idea for more than a decade before winning grants from the National Science Foundation to implement his concept.

His videos and online lesson supplements are available for free. “As much as some may think that this will be the end of the physical classroom or dismiss it for not being equivalent, I look at these resources as a way to complement the physical classroom,” Kaw said.

The awards recognize professors for their influence on teaching and commitment to undergraduate students.

In 2004, Kaw was named the Florida Professor of the Year.

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