Keith earns innovative education award


Jason Keith

A Bagley College of Engineering professor has earned a national award for innovative teaching.

Jason Keith, a professor and director of the Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering and director of the MSU Energy Institute, has received the David Himmelblau Award for a decade of work in developing hydrogen fuel cell and energy education modules.

This award is sponsored by the Computing and Systems Technology division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). It recognizes a group or individual for creating and further developing new ideas for computing aids in chemical engineering education.

Keith began working on the computing module in 2006 as a professor at Michigan Technical University. He collaborated with University of Michigan's chemical engineering professor H. Scott Fogler--a man he had studied and respected since his undergraduate career.

Keith began developing fuel cell energy-based problems in an attempt to introduce the concepts into the classroom. The men decided to make the project bigger by putting it on the Internet to allow people from other universities to get involved.

After the group was granted a seed-fund from Computer Aids for Chemical Engineering (CACHE), a non-profit corporation that emphasizes education through computing aids, Keith began to work with professors from Michigan, Chicago and Pennsylvania.

The group began to develop educational modules including 48 from chemical and other engineering disciplines. As part of a broader grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, Keith continued to expand the operation from basic problems for a freshman engineering class to more advanced problems in chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering.

"Sometimes the problems included in textbooks are traditional," Keith said. "By creating new problems, it gives the professors flexibility in how they teach their classes and the kinds of problems they expose their student to."

Keith continued to develop the modules by testing them, and publishing papers and presentations to AIChE and the American Society for Engineering Education.

Keith joined the Mississippi State faculty in 2011. He holds a doctorate from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor's degree from the University of Akron. In addition to AIChE, he is also a member of the American Society of Engineering Education, which selected him as the 2008 Raymond W. Fahien Award. He also serves as a trustee for the CACHE corporation.

Mary Kate McGowan | Bagley College of Engineering

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