WASHINGTON — Utah State University engineering professor Laurie McNeill has been selected as the Carnegie Foundation's Professor of the Year for Utah.
The 2010 section marks the 10th time in the award's 22-year history that the state winner has come from USU.
McNeill was in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to accept the award, along with 37 other winners selected from a pool of more than 300 finalists by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
According to the Carnegie Foundation, winners are chosen based on their "extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching."
"Dr. McNeill has a deep dedication to teaching and to service learning, and she brings meaning into every contact she has with students," said USU President Stan L. Albrecht. "She is an exceptional educator and deserves this highest honor. And we are proud, once again, to count a USU professor among the very best university teachers in the nation."
McNeill, an associate professor in USU's civil and environmental engineering department, has received accolades from students and colleagues alike for her innovative approaches to teaching and mentoring students.
Students will forget facts, she said. "But if I can teach them to approach a problem and evaluate it more broadly, they will learn what it takes to confront a lot of issues they will face. That is my ultimate goal — to get them to learn how to learn."
"(McNeill) demonstrates a scholarly approach to teaching and learning," said H. Scott Hinton, dean of USU's College of Engineering, "and I know I speak for all of her colleagues in congratulating her for this well-deserved honor."
Earlier this year, McNeill was honored as outstanding undergraduate adviser for USU's civil and environmental engineering department. In 2007, she won the Eldon J. Gardner Teacher of the Year Award, the highest teaching honor at USU. And in 2006, she was chosen as the outstanding teacher in the USU College of Engineering.
McNeill also is the faculty adviser for the USU chapter of Engineers Without Borders, a volunteer group that implements engineering projects in developing countries. As faculty adviser, McNeill mentors more than 40 students and faculty as they work on projects in Mexico, Uganda and Peru. She also advises the Society of Environmental Engineering Students and mentors those students in extracurricular design competitions.