Willis receives distinguished teaching award

June 17, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Dan Willis, professor of architecture in the Stuckeman School at Penn State, was named the recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Teacher Award from the College of Arts and Architecture Center for Pedagogy in Arts and Design (C-PAD).

The award is presented annually to a faculty member within the college who has “contributed significantly to the intellectual and artistic life of the college through their teaching record of outstanding teaching effectiveness both within and outside the classroom; has the ability to inspire, promote, and sustain the intellectual and artistic development of students; and has a pedagogical approach that is innovative.”

A member of the Department of Architecture faculty since 1987, Willis has had an esteemed career in service as the department head from 2002-09, according to his colleague, Dan Marriott, associate professor of landscape architecture at the Stuckeman School.

During his time as head, Willis increased minority student enrollment in the department from 9 to 24% and initiated the proposal that established the current architecture doctoral program. He authored three principal books and multiple book chapters, along with journal articles. Willis also took on the role as investigator in the $120 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to study energy efficient buildings.

“Dan has dedicated himself as an outstanding teacher and mentor who has inspired the intellectual and artistic development of generations of students who now represent Penn State as leaders and innovators in architecture and design worldwide,” Marriott said.

According to Ann Clements, the director of C-PAD, Willis received this award because of the large amount of supportive comments the center received from his past students, current students, and faculty within the college and throughout Penn State. 

“This is a challenging award to receive,” Clements said. “Not only is a large amount of service years to the college required, but the candidates who are proposed for this award have to have a record of outstanding teaching effectiveness inside and outside the classroom, they have to have the ability to inspire, promote and sustain the artistic and intellectual development of their students.”

Clements cited the most impressive part of Willis’ testimonials was the way he has influenced the teaching of his peers. She believes he gives invaluable time and energy to help others reach their teaching potential.  

“This is really a career award for teaching, and he has embodied the characteristics and the criteria of this award throughout his career,” she said. “He is a shining example of the passionate and dedicated teaching that can be found within our college.”

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated June 18, 2020