Carnegie Mellon's Cliff Davidson To Receive
University's Highest Teaching Honor
PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Cliff Davidson will receive the university's highest teaching award April 23 in a ceremony honoring more than three decades of classroom innovation.
The William H. and Frances S. Ryan Award for Meritorious Teaching is awarded to outstanding faculty for consistent, creative and innovative academic excellence.
"I am thrilled to be recognized in this way because I have learned so much in my career from both students and peers," said Davidson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon.
His creative teaching methods often include class and field work spanning everything from dissecting toasters to gauge environmental impact to monitoring the presence of dangerous airborne particulates so endemic to manufacturing regions.
A leader in developing sustainable engineering programs nationwide, Davidson spearheaded two important sustainable engineering workshops in Austin, Texas, in 2007. The first was intended for faculty members without prior experience in the concepts and applications of sustainability as they applied to engineering. The second workshop was designed to help engineering faculty, with prior experience in sustainability, incorporate sustainability concepts into their courses.
"Cliff is an outstanding teacher, and his course evaluations are consistently above a 4.5 (out of a possible 5.0)," said James H. Garrett, Jr., head of Carnegie Mellon's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. "The students really benefit from, and positively respond to, his well-organized and student-focused approach to his courses."
Professors M. Granger Morgan and Lawrence Cartwright, who nominated Davidson for the teaching award, report that Davidson has developed popular courses and played a key role in launching a new center devoted to sustainability.
The Center for Sustainable Engineering galvanizes engineering programs into action. The center, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is designed to help future engineers better manage increased stress on the world's limited resources. In addition to researchers from Carnegie Mellon, the center also conducts collaborative work with the University of Texas at Austin and Arizona State University.
Davidson earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon in 1972. He received his master's degree and Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1973 and 1977, respectively, and joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 1977.
Pictured above is Cliff Davidson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon.