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The 2011 Benjamin Smith Reynolds Award


Daniel J. Klingenberg.

Daniel J. Klingenberg
Chemical and Biological Engineering

When he sees an opportunity to improve engineering education, Chemical and Biological Engineering Professor Daniel Klingenberg seizes it. He has developed or co-developed six new courses, including Introduction to Colloid and Interface Science (CBE 547), a multidisciplinary elective that enrolls students from across UW-Madison; and Introduction to Society’s Engineering Grand Challenges (InterEGR 102), a course that focuses on how people from multiple engineering disciplines will help solve major societal challenges.

Focusing on topics that often confuse undergraduates, Klingenberg and Chemical and Biological Engineering Professor Emeritus R. Byron Bird are writing a new textbook, Introductory Transport Phenomena, by Bird, Stewart and Lightfoot. Additionally, Klingenberg and colleagues in mechanical engineering and civil and environmental engineering are developing online lectures for an interdisciplinary course in fluid mechanics.

As evidence of his commitment to excellence in the classroom, he has received the Polygon Outstanding Instructor Award four times and spares no effort in helping engineering students understand even the most difficult concepts. “Transport phenomena is regarded as one of the most difficult courses, due to its rigorous math requirement and somewhat abstract ideas,” says a former student. “However, Klingenberg’s students often list it as one of their favorite classes, due to his ability to teach the subject. In research, his contextualized description of the importance of practical rheology of biomass in the production of biofuels led me and several other undergraduate researchers to feel like we were making a difference through engineering.”

Klingenberg is a strong proponent of including undergraduate students in research and regularly involves three to six undergraduates in projects related to suspension rheology, often in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory.

For years, he has served as chair of the chemical and biological engineering curriculum committee and of the college Academic Policies, Curricula and Regulations Council. He also is a member of the task force for Engineering Beyond Boundaries, a long-term college initiative to transform engineering education. “Dan is truly passionate about education and effective in turning that passion into action,” says Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering Michael Graham.