Professor Emeritus Jim Stice Receives ASEE Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor Emeritus Jim Stice stands next to an ASEE representative and accepts a plaque in honor of his Lifetime Achievement Award.Jim Stice, the Bob R. Dorsey Professor Emeritus in the Cockrell School of Engineering, has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) for his dedicated work to improve teaching effectiveness.

The annual award recognizes individuals for sustained contributions to education in the fields of engineering and engineering technology.

Stice, who taught in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering for 28 years, co-developed the ASEE National Effective Teaching Institution in 1991 and served as its co-director until 2009. In 1968, he established the Bureau of Engineering Teaching at The University of Texas at Austin, the first center for engineering teaching and learning in the United States.

Stice instituted instructional objectives to outline expectations and information students were required to learn by the end of a course. He videotaped lectures and reviewed them with faculty to offer pointers. He hosted monthly luncheons focused on engineering teaching and created the first-ever course on college teaching for engineering graduate students in the U.S., a course he taught for 25 years. He also helped obtain a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to develop 19 self-paced courses across the College of Engineering over three years.

“Jim’s program was the first effort of its type in higher education, and within four years it was adopted by the entire UT campus,” said John McKetta, professor emeritus and former dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. “Now almost every college has a similar program available. His outstanding ability as a teacher of teachers is truly inspiring.”

As dean, McKetta initiated efforts to improve the effectiveness of teachers at UT Austin and recruited Stice to establish the ground-breaking Bureau of Engineering Teaching program.

“We wanted to increase our level of C or above students,” said McKetta. “Around that time, I heard Jim give a talk on teaching effectiveness at an ASEE meeting. Immediately after his talk, I cornered him and told him how I needed someone like him to come to Texas and start a program. Jim grabbed the bull by the horns and rushed to get started. His program increased the number of students with a grade point average of C or better by 18 percent within its first year.”

Throughout his career, Stice has won several other teaching accolades, including the ASEE Chester F. Carlson Award for Innovation in Engineering Education, the ASEE Donald E. Marlowe Award for Distinguished Leadership in Engineering Education, and the ASEE Benjamin Garver Lamme Award.

“Effective engineering and engineering technology education is not something to be taken for granted,” said ASEE Executive Director Norman Fortenberry. “The efforts of Dr. Stice to improve how we teach students have had a broad impact, influencing engineering and technology faculty and departments around the country. He represents the ideals that ASEE stands for.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented June 16 at the ASEE Annual Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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