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Michel Pleimling receives Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching

April 22, 2016

Michel Pleimling
Michel Pleimling

Michel Pleimling, professor of physics and director of the Academy of Integrated Science in the College of Science, has received the university’s 2016 Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Created in 1982 by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching is presented to two Virginia Tech faculty members each year. Recipients are selected by the university’s Academy of Teaching Excellence from among faculty members who have received Certificates of Teaching Excellence. Each recipient is awarded $2,000 and is inducted into the Academy of Teaching Excellence.

Seeing the difficulty many students were having mastering the introduction of complicated new concepts in conjunction with advanced mathematical techniques in a 3000 level course, Pleimling created PHYS 2504 Math Methods in Physics as an introductory course to these more complicated techniques.

“Over the years Michel has provided many outstanding contributions to the university’s teaching mission, as a superb teacher, advocate of modern teaching pedagogies, leader of curriculum reforms, facilitator of innovative new degree programs, and outstanding research adviser,” wrote Patrick Huber, professor and chair of the Department of Physics, in a letter of nomination.

Pleimling was also the co-developer of the four-semester Integrated Science Curriculum for the College of Science that teaches students introductory science and math in a novel, integrated way, using modern pedagogies in the SCALE-UP learning environment.

He believes in taking advantage of different learning environments, providing hands-on experience for students, involving students as early as possible in research, and keeping students up-to-date on the most recent progress achieved in their field of study.

Pleimling’s dedication to his student’s success is best measured by his well-attended office hours, often causing traffic jams in the hallway, as well as his exceptional student evaluation scores.

Pleimling earned his Ph.D. from the University Saarland in Germany.