Penn recognized with Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence

July 10, 2018
Michael Penn

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – Dr. Michael Penn, professor of civil and environmental engineering, is the recipient of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s 2018 Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.

Since Penn began teaching at UW-Platteville in 1997, his research and teaching interests have focused on water quality, waste handling and minimization, and infrastructure management. He strives to creatively incorporate relevant, real-life scenarios into his assignments — for example, mock public hearings and “managers’ meetings” in place of typical class presentations. Penn also initiated an international component of the capstone senior design course in which students help solve sanitation issues in rural Costa Rican communities.

“Students love his teaching style and intensity,” wrote Dr. Philip Parker, interim associate dean of UW-Platteville’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science, in his nomination letter. “Students regularly mention how entertaining he is in class, and indeed, he manages to make topics as (seemingly) mundane as wastewater treatment or fluid mechanics ‘fun’ for students. The most outstanding aspects of his teaching are his rapport with his students, his ability to inspire his students and his ability to explain complicated topics.”

Penn is also a supporter of UW-Platteville’s Women in Engineering, Mathematics and Science program. He served on the WEMS Scholarship Committee for many years and participates in the program’s career day and progressive dinners.

“As a professor, I am involved in research, consulting, university and professional service, advising and teaching. Of these, teaching is what I love most – it’s not uncommon for me to be in the office until midnight working on my courses. To receive this award is an honor.”

This annual award recognizes a tenure track faculty member who has made distinguished contributions to UW-Platteville as a teacher.  Penn received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Michigan, and his Ph.D. in environmental engineering from Michigan Technology University. He is a founding member of the Center for Infrastructure Transformation and Education and lead author of the textbook, “Introduction to Infrastructure.”

Penn will be recognized at the annual faculty and staff convocation on Tuesday, Aug. 28.


Written by: Alison Parkins, associate director of Public Relations, Communications, 608-342-1526, parkinsal@uwplatt.edu.

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