Gitner Award for Innovation in Teaching with Technology: Past Awardees

2016 Gitner Award Winner

Gerald Fine, of the Department of Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering Professor Gerald Fine receives the 2016 Gitner Award for Innovation in Teaching with Technology from Provost Jean Morrison (right) and Associate Provost for Undergraduate Affairs Beth Loizeaux. (Photo by Cydney Scott for Boston University Photography)

Mechanical Engineering Professor Gerald Fine receives the 2016 Gitner Award for Innovation in Teaching with Technology from Provost Jean Morrison (right) and Associate Provost for Undergraduate Affairs Beth Loizeaux. (Photo by Cydney Scott for Boston University Photography)

Professor Fine’s innovation dates to 2012 when he joined the faculty of BU after a 30-year career as a leader in private industry. His goal at the time was singular: to help train engineers with foundational skills for long-term career impact. He quickly noticed a gap, however, between the comfort level his sophomores enjoyed performing computer-based theoretical design and the hands-on work of using ‘real-world’ design equipment and materials in a laboratory.

This helped to inspire the 2014 opening of the Engineering Product Innovation Center or “EPIC”, and with it, Professor Fine’s class, “Introduction to Engineering Design.”

In EPIC, BU gained one of the nation’s premier university design spaces. In “Intro to Engineering Design,” students gain immersion in a hands-on, interdisciplinary design experience that is rare outside private industry. Whether building a low-cost infant incubator or designing a solar hot plate for a developing country, students emerge from their projects with a working prototype, a far broader knowledge of scientific and engineering principles, and the ability to investigate and understand how things work from a variety of perspectives.

Professor Fine’s innovation is especially impressive in its seamless linking of theory and practice, its applicability as a model for other educators, and its preparation of aspiring engineers for a lifetime of rigorous examination and exploration.

2015 Paul Blanchard, of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics
2014 Bennett Goldberg, Pankaj Mehta, Andrew Duffy and Manher Jariwala, of the Department of Physics