Kraft recognized with Outstanding Teaching Award

Erin Cassidy Hendrick
October 08, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Reuben Kraft, assistant professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering and co-hire with the Penn State Institute of CyberScience, is being recognized with the 2018 Penn State Engineering Alumni Society Outstanding Teaching Award.

This award distinguishes an outstanding engineering educator for excellence in teaching and for their contributions to the art of teaching. These teaching awards are established to confer honor on individuals whose inspiration and contributions to learning are truly memorable.

“My class has actually gotten better and more impactful because every time I survey my students, I learn more about what helps them succeed."

-- Reuben Kraft, assistant professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering

Joining Penn State in 2013, Kraft teaches high-performance computing classes, training students to analyze complex scenarios, such as predicting how an object reacts to real-world forces like vibration, heat, and mechanical impact.

While the subject matter he teaches can be complex, his teaching philosophy is simple: find out what his students need to do their best. With that goal in mind, he constantly solicits feedback from his students and actively finds new ways to incorporate their suggestions.

“My class has actually gotten better and more impactful because every time I survey my students, I learn more about what helps them succeed,” he said.

It’s this unwavering commitment to adaptation that secured Kraft this award. “I look at it as I work for them,” he said. “I see my students as consumers and my teaching is the product.”

Teaching both resident and online classes through Penn State World Campus, Kraft also emphasizes learning theory and practice hand-in-hand.

“The metrics for success in my class are being able to do an engineering job and also describe the theory behind it,” he said. “If you just learn the theory, you can’t apply it with tools. But if you don’t know the theory behind the tool, you can make really big mistakes.”

“Teaching these skills in combination is a high priority for me because it makes high-powered engineers.”

Kraft accepted the honor at the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society Awards ceremony held at the Hintz Family Alumni Center on October 1.

“What this award means to me is, if you really listen to your students, it will make a difference,” he said. “I’m happy that my methods are working.”

Last Updated October 08, 2018