Janis Terpenny, associate professor of engineering education and mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, recently received the university's 2008 Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholars Award.

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Academy of Teaching Excellence, the Diggs Teaching Scholars Award was established in 1992 and is presented annually to three Virginia Tech faculty members to recognize exceptional contributions to the teaching program and learning environment. A cash award is given to each recipient and their respective academic departments. New Diggs Teaching Scholars are invited to lead the Diggs Roundtable, a series of presentations and a discussion relating to their innovative teaching, the year after receiving the award.

The award is supported by an endowed fund established through an estate gift from the late Edward S. and Hattie Wilson Diggs. Mr. Diggs was a 1914 graduate of Virginia Tech.

Terpenny is director of the National Science Foundation Center for e-Design, a multi-university National Science Foundation industry-university cooperative research center. Her research is focused on revolutionizing how engineered products and systems are designed. Her primary focus is on design process and methods for early stages of problem/requirements definition and the generation and evaluation of design concepts; the representation, capture and reuse of knowledge and information in design; the definition of product families and platforms; and methods to predict and plan for obsolescence in products and systems.

Terpenny is devoted to increasing the number of women and underrepresented minorities in engineering through personal mentoring, providing research opportunities to undergraduates, and design projects that allow students to personally connect and contribute to solutions that benefit individuals, society, or the world in which they live.

She has been the principal or co-principal investigator on more than $5 million of research funded by the National Science Foundation and industry, and has published several book chapters, and more than 80 peer-reviewed publications. She is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Institute of International Education, and Alpha Pi Mu. She currently serves as the design economics area editor for The Engineering Economist.

Terpenny received her bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.