Helmut Vogel Win Mellon College of Science Awards for Education
Helmut Vogel will receive one of this year’s Mellon College of Science awards for education and will be recognized at the University Celebration of Education ceremony on April 23. His accomplishments will be further celebrated at the Mellon College of Science annual meeting on May 7.
Physics Professor Helmut Vogel received The Richard Moore Award for his substantial and sustained contributions to the educational mission of MCS. Vogel joined the Physics faculty in 1983 and his teaching excellence was evident early on. Within his first six years at CMU, he won two teaching awards—MCS’s Julius Ashkin Award and the university’s William H. and Frances S. Ryan Award for Meritorious Teaching.
“His excellence in the classroom and his dedication to the education of our students have not, in any way, waned since then,” wrote Physics Professor and Department Head Stephen Garoff when nominating Vogel.
Throughout his 33-years with MCS, Vogel has taught nearly every semester. His repertoire includes Concepts in Modern Physics (a course for non-majors), Electricity and Magnetism (for advanced physics majors), and virtually every Introductory Physics course offered by the department. Over the years, Vogel has made great efforts to establish new and better ways of teaching physics to majors and non-majors alike. He worked with members of the Center for Innovation in Learning, the predecessor to the Eberly Center, participating in the first large-scale study of their interactive learning software and collaborating on a “Language Across the Curriculum” project.
Vogel has excelled at communicating with and motivating students in the variety of introductory physics courses he has taught. From 2000-2010, his average FCEs were 4.8 for the instructor, and 4.6 for the course itself. Because of his great success with introductory courses and his clear understanding of how to help students succeed, the Physics Department asked Vogel to lead the team which is modifying and developing all six introductory courses so that they are in tune with the contemporary MCS core curriculum.
Over his many successful years teaching physics, Vogel has forged close bonds with his students, becoming more than a teacher—he is a mentor and a friend. Many alumni still keep in touch. “To this day, he maintains interest in what I am doing, how I am doing, and where I am going as a person and a scientist,” wrote a former student in support of Vogel’s nomination. “While Helmut started out as my professor, he quickly became my friend and I hope, at this point, I can also be called his colleague.”