Dr. Jonathan Fiene awarded the Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence by Non-Standing Faculty

April 17th, 2013

Congratulations to Dr. Jonathan Fiene for being awarded the Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence by Non-Standing Faculty!!!

Jonathan Fiene (MEAM) has received the 2013 Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence, given annually in recognition of distinguished teaching by associated faculty or academic support staff.  “The first thing that anyone will notice about Jonathan,” writes a student, “is his contagious enthusiasm for engineering; it is nearly impossible to resist being swept up in his undying excitement for what he does.”  Through his experience as an industrial aerospace engineer, he specializes in “posing practical engineering problems and challenging students to think outside the box” and thereby “brings real-world engineering into classroom instruction.” His students consistently praise the combination of rigorous standards, applications, accessibility and enthusiasm that he brings to his teaching.

Jonathan Fiene, senior lecturer in the department of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, has taught at Penn since 2007. “As a team of four students, we often feel as if Jonathan is our fifth member,” writes one student. “His door is never shut to our team.” A “firm believer” (in his own words) “in the power of learning by doing,” he uses an interactive Wiki for his class materials, developed a “MEAMpalooza!” showcase of student projects and launched what a student calls an “appropriately epic” Robockey (robotic hockey) tournament “that is the culmination of everything we’ve learned during the semester” and generated “a feeling of excitement that I’ve never seen replicated in any other class.” Writes a recent student, “Creating an environment in which his students can learn by doing, Jonathan’s classes simulate real-world stress, pressure and challenging situations that engineers often encounter in industry. His expert teaching philosophy allows students to learn how to self-motivate, work successfully in teams and learn new concepts and skills on the fly.” These challenges help students “go beyond our perceived limits” as “he expects hard work and creativity,” and they “tie in information from other classes and inspire students to explore the applications of their other coursework.” A “deeply passionate teacher” who “helps motivate students to push themselves and accomplish things that they never thought were possible,” he “is more than just a professor in the mechanical engineering department at Penn,” writes one student: “he’s an entire culture.”

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