BCoE names new academy members

March 31, 2010

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Called innovative, caring, passionate, and determined, four Bagley College of Engineering (BCoE) faculty members have earned a place in the college’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

David Bridges, Yogi Dandass, David Thompson, and Keisha Walters were inducted into the academy at a March 30 ceremony.

This year’s recipients were nominated by BCoE faculty, staff and students and chosen based on their involvement in the scholarship of and commitment to improving their teaching, as well as overall outstanding performance in the classroom.

“This year’s class of inductees represents a group of faculty who put a lot of themselves into their teaching,” said Dr. Donna Reese, associate dean of academics. “These faculty care about whether or not their students are learning, and put in extra time and effort to try new things in the classroom and get feedback from students on whether what they are doing is effective. It is obvious from their letters of support that students and other faculty recognize and appreciate their efforts.”

The 2010 BCoE Academy of Distinguished Teachers inductees include (alphabetically):

—Dr. David Bridges is an associate professor of aerospace engineering. Since joining the faculty in 1993, he has taught all levels of coursework. His students describe him as always willing to work outside of class to help students learn material they may have been struggling with.

He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mississippi State and a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology. He is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and served as chair of the organization’s instruction in experimental methods discussion group.

—Dr. Yogi Dandass is an associate professor in the computer science and engineering department. In his nearly 13 years at State he has been a leader on 10 grants that support teaching and student research, which earned him status as an “excellent mentor” among his students.

In addition to co-authoring more than 20 publications with students, Dandass also has four education papers to his credit. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Loch Haven University of Pennsylvania, a master’s from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate from Mississippi State, all in computer science.

—Dr. David Thompson came to MSU as a researcher in 1998 and joined the department of aerospace engineering’s faculty in 2003 as an associate professor. In July 2009, he was named associate director of Mississippi State’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems where he serves as lead for the computation fluid dynamics research group. He actively involves undergraduate students in his research and is recognized for his ability to “discern and cultivate the strengths of each student.”

Throughout his faculty career, Thompson has mentored more than 20 students to the completion of graduate degrees. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mississippi State and a doctorate from Iowa State University. He previously was recognized for outstanding teaching at the University of Texas at Arlington where he served on the faculty for nearly 10 years.

—Dr. Keisha Walters joined the BCoE in 2005 as an assistant professor in chemical engineering. Since that time she has worked with more than 30 student researchers and earned a reputation for holding her students to high standards and instilling in them a passion for chemical engineering.

She also participates in Mississippi EPSCoR, a program that works to encourage science and technology research and development in the state and encourage women and minority students to pursue scientific fields of study. She earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at Clemson University.

The BCoE Academy of Distinguished Teachers was established in 2006 to recognize faculty members who have gone beyond traditional ideas to help encourage, support and challenge students to help ensure each individual’s future success in the field of engineering.

For more information about the academy and a complete list of its members, visit www.bagley.msstate.edu/people/academyofteachers.

More information about the Bagley College of Engineering can be found on the college’s Web site, www.bagley.msstate.edu.