Kofinas Appointed to Engaged Faculty

The Fischell Department of Bioengineering extends its congratulations to Peter Kofinas, one of six professors elected to the A. James Clark School of Engineering's first class of ENGAGED Faculty. The Clark school bestowed the honor on Kofinas and his colleagues based on nominations from undergraduate engineering students.

The ENGAGED Faculty project is a component of a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program called ENGAGE: Engaging Students in Engineering. The University of Maryland was one of ten schools selected to participate in the first year of the program, which seeks to increase the undergraduate student retention rate in engineering programs by implementing three strategies designed to improve their classroom and educational experiences: integrating everyday examples of engineering concepts into coursework, improving spatial visualization skills, and improving and increasing faculty-student interaction.

The ENGAGED Faculty were nominated by Clark School undergraduates on the basis of being approachable and accessible, having high expectations of their students, providing advice and support on academic and extracurricular activities, and taking a genuine interest in and concern for their students, especially outside of the classroom. Each ENGAGED faculty member has also been described as dedicated and patient, and has been identified as a positive mentor and role model.

"For me, the greatest honor is to be nominated by undergraduate students for an award," says Kofinas, who is also a Keystone Professor, one of a select group of Clark School faculty members specializing in the education and retention of freshmen engineering students. "The best personal satisfaction for an educator is when his or her own students recognize that one has indeed put a lot of effort into trying to teach them, even when sometimes the required material is boring. I am really happy and grateful to the students who nominated me. Because of this recognition I am now motivated to become an even better teacher."

For more information about the ENGAGE program, visit www.engageengineering.org.

Published June 1, 2011