By Ashley Cruz, Sept. 13, 2022

Professor of mechanical and aerospace space engineering Paul Nissenson has been a faculty member of Cal Poly Pomona for over 10 years. He has been recognized for his work and successful experiments by winning national-level recognition, the American Society of Engineering Education award (ASEE).

The ASEE is an award that is given to engineer educators that have proven commitment and desire to improve engineering education. ASEE is the largest engineering society dedicated to national-level ranks, with 12 sections and CPP following the pacific southwest section. Nissenson first won the local level award, then got elected as an ASEE national nominee and won the 2022 ASEE national award.

Nissenson has been a part of the executive board of ASEE’s pacific southwest section since 2014. He is a mechanical and aerospace engineer but focuses mainly on teaching his student’s thermal-fluid sciences and introductory programming.

Courtesy of Christopher Park

“It’s wonderful to get acknowledged,” said Nissenson. “I’ve had a lot of luck. I ended up in a place that values what I do and views even the small things.”

The effect this accomplishment has on those that win this award, like Nissenson, is appreciation in the field of their specialty.

Professor Paul Nissenson was acknowledged for his way of incorporating his famous “flip” courses.  His “flip-class” technique for his thermal-fluid and introductory programming lectures was proven to be successful for the students by bringing down the percentages of 35 percent to 11 percent of dropped or failed courses. As mentioned in the Cal Poly Pomona mechanical engineering website; college of engineering.

“I try to create an environment that is comfortable. I try to let them (the students) have an inviting atmosphere,” said Nissenson. His main goal for his classes our to have his students always come out of class with more knowledge about the subjects than before.

The “flip” course method entails that prior to an in-person class, Nissenson films new lecture videos and requests his students to view, study and answer/analyze the work and problems he provided. Once professor Nissenson and his students are in an in-person class he dedicates class time to answering questions and doing activities.

“I only have 150 minutes a week and I am just trying to get more time together,” said Nissenson. Professor Nissesnson also mentions how he tries to be as understanding as much as possible, with his students since many of them come from different places.

Therefore, he tries his ultimate best to dedicate more time to engage with students via conversations and questions during his face-to-face class, rather than having an entire class dedicated to lecture and limited time for questions.

“I hope this award can help the other goals I have planned, get reviewers for grants, and can help pursue better teaching,” said Nissenson. “I view this award for everyone in my team and anyone that helped me along the way. All the faculty, my mentors and my students too, that were there during my experiments.”

Professor Paul Nissenson, the ASEE national award winner, dedicates his award to all the people that have surrounded him with support and encouragement to pursue his experiments and is thankful to all of those who were there to help him go towards success.

“I really do view this as lucky. I’ve had so much support and I thank everyone that was there because that shows the value of engineering,” shared Nissenson.

Feature image courtesy of Christopher Park

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