The College of Engineering’s biggest award winner for 2019 said his secret to success boils down to a simple approach to teaching:
“I make an effort to treat students how I wanted to be treated,” said Clay McKell, a lecturer in the Electrical Engineering Department.
McKell was presented with the Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award and two awards from the Engineering Student Council – one for Outstanding Faculty and the other for Outstanding Lecturer.
He was one of a dozen faculty members, students and staffers recognized by Dean Amy S. Fleischer June 11 during the annual end of year college-wide meeting at the Advanced Technologies Lab.
McKell began teaching at Cal Poly as a lecturer in 2014. But he hasn’t forgotten the time he spent as a student at UCLA, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering, and University of Hawaii, where he earned his doctorate in electrical engineering.
“I really appreciated when my instructors gave us challenges but then also gave us scaffolding to accomplish those challenges, so that’s what I try to do,” he said.
His efforts have been well received. He received 31 nominations for the Excellence in Teaching Award, which came with a $4,000 check. The award recognizes non-tenured faculty members who have been in the college six years or less.
Students who nominated him noted his knowledge of the field, preparedness for class, ability to convey the information well and inspiration provided.
“It means so much to be appreciated by my colleagues and my students and to be honored in front of a lot of very effective, very passionate faculty members,” he said.
Here’s a full list of the winners, followed by a photo gallery:
- Don & Paula Heye Annual Award for Outstanding Teaching in the College of Engineering: Bridget Benson
- Engineering Student Council Outstanding Faculty Award: Clay McKell
- Engineering Student Council Outstanding Lecturer Award: Clay McKell
- Engineering Student Council Outstanding Club Advisor Award: Eric Kasper
- Engineering Student Council Outstanding Staff Award: Amy Sinclair
- Engineering Student Council Outstanding Professor in COSAM Award: Robert Easton
- College of Engineering Outstanding Staff Award: Laurie Hartwell
- Don & Paula Heye Annual Award for Outstanding Club Advisement in the CENG: Joe Mello
- Inaugural Diversity and Inclusivity Award – Staff/Faculty: Tina Smilkstein
- Inaugural Diversity and Inclusivity Award – Student: Gabriel Medina-Kim
- Raytheon Excellence in Teaching & Applied Research: Anurag Pande
- Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching: Clay McKell
- Lockheed Martin Endowed Professorship: Pauline Faure
- Lockheed Martin Endowed Professorship: Maria Pantoja