Since he joined Iowa State in 2012, Ganesh Balasubramanian, an assistant professor in mechanical engineering, has been working on developing and implementing learning content for the next generation of students, scientists, and engineers that integrates research with education.
He says tying research with student learning is increasingly important and inevitable given the speed of scientific advancements.
Balasubramanian’s efforts in teaching emerging technologies, creating new nanotechnology courses in mechanical engineering as well as pushing for active learning efforts to be implemented in large classes were recently recognized and honored with the ASEE Mechanical Engineering Division New Educator Award.
“I was told the award is very competitive so I honestly did not expect to receive it, but I am overjoyed that I have been selected as the recipient,” he says.
Balasubramanian teaches classes in thermodynamics, heat transfer, and nanoscale heat transfer. In his classroom, he uses a team-based learning approach where students work with their peers to solve problems while also developing skills to excel in their academics and career. The team-based approach requires constant feedback and evaluation so that he can successfully achieve the best student learning outcomes.
He also works to incorporate concepts from his research into his class. He is currently working on investigating electronic and thermal transport in low dimensional materials, semiconductors, and thermoelectrics; researching high-entropy alloys to understand structural evolutions and properties of alloys that contain five or more metals; and exploring the effects of nano-sized particles when dispersed within bulk fluidic materials. Much of his research can be applied in materials for defense systems, better thermal insulators, heat and charge conductors, and coolants.
He says the Miller Faculty Fellowship from the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at Iowa State contributed to his initial efforts in course development and that he received great support from his students and teaching assistants as they helped implement courses and provided feedback.