Mechanical engineering professor recognized for outstanding teaching

Erin Cassidy Hendrick
September 16, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Paris Von Lockette, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State, has earned the 2019 Penn State Engineering Alumni Society (PSEAS) Outstanding Teaching Award.

The award is meant to distinguish an outstanding engineering educator for excellence in teaching and for their contributions to the art of teaching. These awards were established by the PSEAS to confer honor on individuals whose inspiration and contributions to learning are truly memorable.

Reflecting on this accomplishment, Von Lockette said, “It feels amazing and humbling. Engineers have an impact and to be recognized for impacting engineers is a rewarding experience.”

His core teaching philosophy is a fusion of the Socratic method and inductive learning. Adopting the Socratic method, when introducing new topics, he encourages his students to fully grasp the problem they are trying to solve, which helps them conceptualize the solutions.

He said, “In traditional engineering, this is invariably how the people who developed the science in these fields did it. We just happen to have access to the answers it took those people days, months, or years to develop.”

Inductive learning is also an impactful method he utilizes in his classroom. When tackling an engineering problem, he finds it extremely helpful for students to be guided through an example and then apply it to another problem individually.

“Students respond really well to this approach, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive,” he said. “They’ve appreciated how it engages their critical thinking and helps them figure out solutions for themselves.”

Von Lockette emphasized that educating the next generation of engineers is an inspiring task and paramount to the future.

“Engineers are a large part of the workforce and contribute to a large part of the infrastructure of society,” he said. “With their knowledge comes responsibility to have a measured and reasoned voice in discussions about technology and how it affects and shapes society.”

Von Lockette will accept the honor at the PSEAS awards ceremony held at the Hintz Family Alumni Center on Oct. 21.

  • Headshot of an African American man.

    Paris Von Lockette, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 16, 2019