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2021 Certificate of Teaching Excellence

Dean's Award for Excellence

Matthew R. Eatherton

Associate Professor and Raymond G. and Madelyn Ann Curry Faculty Fellow, Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Matt Eatherton
  • Matthew Eatherton is the director of the Thomas M. Murray Structural Engineering and Materials Laboratory.  In 2018, he was named the Raymond G. and Madelyn Ann Curry Faculty Fellow.  He has also been honored as a Virginia Tech Engineering Faculty Fellow and a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, as well as the American Institute of Steel Construction Milek Faculty Fellowship. 

  • In teaching classes, Matthew Eatherton makes an effort to bring to the students real-world materials, projects, and demonstrations.  This includes objects that help demonstrate engineering phenomena, a shake-table to demonstrate dynamic behavior, pieces of steel from buildings, videos from research projects, and real-world design situations from his time as a structural engineer earlier in his career.  He also incorporates real-world design projects into almost every class he teaches.  In working with his students, he tries to learn every student's name and foster an atmosphere of respect so that students are more likely to approach him when they need something.      

  • For six years, Matthew Eatherton has served on the Civil and Environmental Engineering Curriculum Committee.  During that time, has made some big changes, including (1) incorporating building information modeling into the CEE curriculum, which he advocated for due to its use in engineering practice, and (2) was part of the decision to create a data analytics course for civil and environmental engineering undergraduate students.  I have also created, with the help of students, several learning modules covering important topics typically missed in structural engineering curricula.

Eric Jacques

Assistant Professor, Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Eric Jacques
  • Protecting people, infrastructure, and property against the damaging effects of explosions and terrorist attacks is the focus of Eric Jacques’s research. He is the Director of the Shock Tube Research Facility, equipped with the largest academic blast simulator in the United States. This unique facility supports fundamental and applied research and development in blast protection for private sector, academic, and government organizations in an on-campus environment tightly integrated with faculty from Virginia Tech and elsewhere in the country. He is actively engaged in national and international protective design technical committees, research organizations, conference advisory boards, and publication activities. He has also developed several blast analysis software tools to assist security professionals, and regularly lectures and presents on global terrorism protection.

  • Eric Jacques is known in the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering for his creative and extensive use of technology to stimulate learning and maximize student success in the classroom. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he worked diligently to adapt his technological teaching style to safely reach his students and mitigate the social and educational impact of remote learning during the COVID pandemic. For example, he employs high-quality audiovisual equipment to convey the nuance and richness of non-verbal communication. He provides students with an electronic course pack containing blanks and partially-completed figures that he annotates in class using a tablet computer and digital pen.

  • With the use of peer evaluation, Eric Jacques promotes active learning and participation in the classroom while also developing critical assessment skills for students to use in future academic and professional settings. For his class, Reinforced Concrete Structures, Eric Jacques developed an experiential laboratory component to reinforce key concepts and demonstrate the fundamental behavior of concrete beams. For his project-based graduate specialty course, Blast Resistant Design of Structures, he set the class up to be supported by active industry members who share their knowledge through regular guest lectures. He offers this class in a semi-flipped format, with weekly meetings that serve to provide additional guidance and support for students in their project work. Eric invested considerable time developing these new teaching strategies, ensuring that clear instructions are provided to assist students to master their project work, and continually revising the course to enhance the educational experience.

  • In order to fill the void left by the lack of in-person interaction during the pandemic, Eric Jacques took the initiative to build belonging among students. He designed and facilitated activities, such as: (1) assigning community-building group homework with randomized team assignments; (2) hosting online trivia to provide informal social interactions for students and faculty that extend beyond the virtual classroom; and (3) regularly checking on the learning and wellbeing of students to alleviate the anxiety felt by being isolated from meaningful in-person interactions.     
  • Eric Jacques also served as an external co-advisor on an experiential capstone project for a team of Cadets from the United States Military Academy West Point. The external capstone team performed experiments using the Shock Tube Research Facility as part of their capstone and published a peer-reviewed journal article in Engineering Structures, one of the top journals in structural engineering.

Michael L. Madigan

Professor, Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Michael Madigan
  • In his teaching, Michael Madigan has been committed to connecting students to real-world ergonomic problems through group projects where students go out into the community to identify and develop solutions.  Students then present their project to the class to share experiences and for peer evaluations.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, he had to modify hands-on group-based lab assignments in order for students to complete them at home either individually or with the help of a roommate or family member.  In addition, when designing his curriculum he updated lecture-based courses to be more focused on hands-on experiments in which students use each other as subjects.

  • Providing personal feedback to students on assignments by recording his voice for 1-2 minutes while evaluating their work, and then sending these recordings to students, is a way that Michael Madigan has utilized to provide additional support to his students.

  • Michael Madigan has previously been honored with the Virginia Tech Certificate of Teaching Excellence for the College of Engineering.  In addition, he was named a Virginia Tech College of Engineering Faculty Fellow and Kevin P. Granada Faculty Fellow. He serves as chair of the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering Promotion and Tenure Committee and is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Biomechanics.

Kevin D. Young

Assistant Professor of Practice, Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Coordinator, Land Development Design Initiative (LDDI)

Kevin Young
  • LDDI is a unique program that brings professionals from industry together with academia to help better prepare students for a career in land development design. Kevin Young coordinates the program. Through the LDDI network, he connects his students with professionals active in the land development design profession.  These professionals engage with students through:  guest lectures in and outside of class, field trips, design charrettes, engineering workshops, and career networking events. HIs relationship with these professionals affords him a wealth of real-world materials for use for in-class instruction and hands-on learning activities.  He spends a large amount of time advising LDDI, arranging networking opportunities between students and land development professionals, and taking students on site visits throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

  • Over the past 14 years Kevin Young has worked alongside professor emeritus, Randy Dymond, growing the LDDI curriculum from a single, senior-level elective course to a comprehensive curriculum made up of five individual courses.  This curriculum includes two courses that Kevin Young serves as the VT faculty coordinator, while being taught exclusively by professionals from industry.  The pandemic opened an opportunity for Kevin Young to develop innovative ways to preserve student-practitioner engagement in the virtual classroom.

  • As a three-time honoree of the Virginia Tech Certificate Teaching of Excellence, Kevin Young excels at teaching. In addition, he has been honored with the College of Engineering Sporn Award and the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Loganathan Award.