Thevamaran earns Outstanding New Mechanics Educator Award from ASEE

// Engineering Physics

Engineering Physics Assistant Professor Ramathasan Thevamaran has received the 2021 Ferdinand P. Beer and E. Russel Johnston, Jr., Outstanding New Mechanics Educator Award from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

Photo of Ramathasan Thevamaran
Ramathasan Thevamaran

This award is given annually by the ASEE Mechanics Division to recognize early career faculty who demonstrate a strong commitment to teaching with evidence of exceptional contributions to engineering mechanics education.

Since joining UW-Madison in fall 2017, Thevamaran has been teaching three courses—EMA405: Practicum in Finite Elements (undergraduate-level), EMA/EP615: Micro- and Nanoscale Mechanics (undergraduate/graduate-level), and EMA700: Theory of Elasticity (graduate-level)—which are now being taken by students from several departments.

He designed the EMA/EP615 and EMA700 courses from the ground up under existing titles. In addition, he introduced several modules to EMA405 to incorporate interesting topics varying from modeling nonlinear plastic behavior of metals to random structural vibrations.

Thevamaran integrates contemporary research with examples from his own research lab to illustrate the role of basic mechanics principles in enabling research and engineering applications—from metamaterials to microballistics. “This approach allows me to intrigue the students first, which motivates them to learn the fundamental mechanics concepts effectively,” Thevamaran says.

Thevamaran embraces opportunities to hone his skills as an educator, including participating in the Madison Teaching and Learning Excellence (MTLE) program as a fellow.

“This program was a fantastic opportunity for us to learn and experiment with various evidence-based teaching approaches, facilitated by professionals in education,” he says. “There is immense support and encouragement at UW-Madison for us to excel in scholarship in addition to research. I expect this trend to grow as we strive to provide a holistic student-centered engineering education.”

The ASEE presented Thevamaran with the award at the 2021 ASEE Virtual Conference in July 2021.

Author: Adam Malecek