John Collier Named NH Professor of the Year

November 18, 2010

CONTACT: Catharine Lamm
1-603-646-3943

Professor Collier
Professor John Collier

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) have named John Collier, Dartmouth's Myron Tribus Professor of Engineering Innovation, the 2010 New Hampshire Professor of the Year. Collier was selected from more than 300 top professors in the United States.

Collier received his B.E., M.E., and D.E. from Dartmouth and has been a member of the engineering faculty since 1979. He transformed Introduction to Engineering (ENGS 21) into Thayer School's signature undergraduate project-based course, and teaches several additional courses in design methodology, machine design, and biomaterials.

"In his twenty-five years of service, he has touched the lives of countless students, encouraging the risk-taking and problem-solving skills that will serve them for a lifetime of learning," says Joseph Helble, Dean and Professor of Engineering at Dartmouth.

Professor Collier with a student
Collier in the project lab

"I remember he had pages taped to the wall with the faces and names of each student in his class," says Christina Behrend, a former student. "He made sure to learn who each student was in the eighty-person class so that no student was a stranger … I have not yet met a professor that can match his devotion to students, his insight, or his love and talent for his profession."

Collier's teaching also extends well beyond the classroom. As advisor to the Dartmouth Formula Racing (DFR) team he employs many of his teaching techniques toward helping the students design and build their race car and prepare for competition.

Collier and DFR
Collier talks with the DFR racecar driver at the 2009 Formula Hybrid International Competition

In addition, he regularly involves students in his research at the Dartmouth Biomedical Engineering Center (DBEC) for Orthopaedics. Collier is a trained design engineer with a background in biomechanics and biomedical materials and oversees the largest collection of retrieved joint implants in the world—over 9000 specimens. Collier and his team of colleagues, staff, and students work to systematically identify and solve problems related to the production, design, and materials of joint replacement technology.

When asked what inspires him to teach year after year, Collier replied, "It's the excitement of seeing students on a steep learning curve start to build confidence in their abilities. And knowing that by giving them problem-solving skills they'll be able to tackle almost any life circumstance."

CASE and the Carnegie Foundation have been partners in offering the U.S. Professors of the Year awards program since 1981. TIAA-CREF, one of America's leading financial services organizations and higher education's premier retirement system, became the principal sponsor for the awards ceremony in 2000. Additional support for the program is received from a number of higher education associations, including Phi Beta Kappa which sponsors an evening congressional reception.

This year, there are 38 state winners. CASE assembled two preliminary panels of judges to select finalists. The Carnegie Foundation then convened the third and final panel, which selected four national winners. CASE and Carnegie select state winners from top entries resulting from the judging process. Collier was selected from faculty members nominated by colleges and universities throughout the country.