The Faculty Achievement Award is given to non-tenure track faculty. The recipients of this award are chosen because they have shown excellence in at least one of the categories of teaching. These categories are teaching, research, and service. The nomination and selection of the individuals for the award is based on teaching, research, or service to the University and to the individual's profession. This award includes a $1,000 stipend.
Nominations for the award may come from faculty, administrators, staff or students. However, nominations from Department Chairs are encouraged. The Selection Committee then selects the winners of this award. The Selection Committee is comprised of one Curators’ Professor, one Curators’ teaching professor, one Vice Provost and Dean from each college, and 2 awardees from the previous year. The award is then presented at the annual Faculty Awards Banquet. This year the banquet is December 5, 2019.
Dr. Jillian Schmidt is one of six who received the Faculty Achievement Award. She is a teaching professor only, so she does not do research in her field of study. However, she does do educational research. This is one of the many examples of her campus engagement and her desire to go above and beyond for her students.
Dr. Jillian Schmidt has a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering and a Ph.D in Materials Science with a biomaterials focus. Both of these degrees were obtained at the University of Minnesota. This is her fifth year teaching at the University of Science and Technology. She has taught a variety of courses. These include Mechanical Engineering 1720, Junior level aerospace courses, spacecraft design, and fluid mechanics.
Her research interests include design theory, materials and structure, and educational research. She has had several journal publications. These include Cyclic Stretch and Perfusion Bioreactor for Conditioning Large Diameter Engineered Tissue Tubes, Effects of Intermittent and Incremental Cyclic Stretch on ERK Signaling and Collagen Production in Engineered Tissue, and Combating Adaptation to Cyclic Stretching By Prolonging Activation of Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase.
Dr. Jillian Schmidt credits her award to her campus engagement and passion for going above and beyond for her students. Schmidt said, “I think that part of the award is based on campus engagement and I’ve tried really hard to engage with the campus and different student groups…” Currently, she is the academic advisor for the Sigma Pi Fraternity and the Liquid Rocket Design Team. She is also involved in several campus outreach programs. These include Space: The Final Frontier Summer Camp, which hosts grades 10-12, and Expanding Your Horizons, which is an on campus STEM event for 7-8th grade girls.
As one of Dr. Schmidt's students, I can attest to the fact that she goes above and beyond her students. She has several available office hours and she is always available to students via email. Anytime I have needed help, she has answered my question within the hour. In her Mechanical Engineering 1720 class, she recently acquired the materials necessary to teach her students how to use arduino, which is just another example of her striving to better her students. She offers a variety of introduction modules for technology in Mechanical Engineering 1720. These modules include easy to learn tutorials that she has created and the course options are Arduino, Matlab, Microsoft Office, Advanced Excel, AutoCAD, and NX.
Dr. Schmidt is obviously qualified for the award, but in the words of one of her students, Alyssa Crum, “Dr. Schmidt is very flexible and understanding with her students, and goes above and beyond with her lecture material.”