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Browning selected to participate in prestigious engineering symposium

Pat Browning Portrait

 Pat Browning

Patrick Browning, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at West Virginia University, has been selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s eighth Frontiers of Engineering Education symposium.

Browning will join 49 other young educators representing a variety of engineering disciplines at the conference on September 25-28, in Irvine, California. FOEE brings together some of the nation’s most engaged and innovative engineering educators in order to promote effective, substantive and inspirational engineering education through a sustained dialogue within the emerging generation of innovative faculty. During the 2.5-day symposium, they participate in discussions and workshops focused on approaches to classroom, laboratory, project, experiential, computer-based or other modes of preparing engineering students to work and lead in the 21st century.

Participants will also have multiple opportunities to share their innovations with others, learn from best practices and network with colleagues.

Chosen from a highly competitive pool of applicants, Browning was nominated by Jacky Prucz, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

“Patrick is a highly qualified, innovative and energetic faculty member who has consistently shown talent, commitment and dedication to inspiring our students to aim higher and to achieve more through their engineering education in our institution,” said Prucz. “His unique abilities to motivate his students at all levels, combined with his firm dedication to improve the engineering education in the Department, are well aligned with WVU’s mission to ‘deliver high-quality education, while exceling in discovery and innovation.’”

Since joining the Department in 2009, Browning, who earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering from WVU, has developed new introductory courses for mechanical and aerospace engineering and unmanned aerial systems. He also serves as the faculty advisor for the Beta Xi chapter of the engineering fraternity Sigma Phi Delta and as a workshop mentor for the West Virginia chapter of the Expanding Your Horizons Network, which focuses on inspiring young women to pursue careers in STEM.

Browning’s primary focus on innovation in engineering education has been in the area of introduction of new media formats into the classroom, specifically utilizing smartphones for instructional use.

“Many educators are familiar with the numerous problems posed by smartphones in the hands of their students during a lecture, but I have found it possible to flip the ubiquitous devices to work for me in the classroom by engaging students with interactive material through their personal smartphones,” said Browning. “The results of this effort have been extremely positive, both from the students’ and from my perspective. I have found that the overall amount of information I am able to convey and the overall retention of the material exhibited by the students has increased markedly from this approach. My experience with this teaching method has allowed me to identify several effective and, of course, some not-so-effective modes of making this approach work.

“I’m excited to share this information and contribute to both the discussions and group activities during the FOEE symposium.”

Later this month, Browning is also slated to receive of the Forest R. McFarland Award from SAE International, a global association of more than 128,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries. The award recognizes individuals for their outstanding contributions toward the work of the SAE Engineering Meetings Board in the planning, development and dissemination of technical information through technical meetings, conferences and professional development programs or outstanding contributions to the EMB operations in facilitating or enhancing the interchanges of technical information.



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