Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Robert Thomas has received the Outstanding New Teacher Award for 2022
Established by the University Committee on Improvement in Teaching in 1991, the award recognizes an outstanding teacher within his or her first four years at the university. Criteria for selection include excellence in the classroom, capacity to motivate and challenge students and creativity in teaching methods and curriculum development.
In his nomination letter, Professor and Interim Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering Steven Wojtkiewicz said that Thomas “successfully achieved what many of us hoped to while teaching during the pandemic,” citing his “above-and-beyond efforts to adapt his courses” to the altered learning environment of the pandemic.
The nomination went on to say that “teaching is not contained to the classroom but occurs through numerous other conduits,” noting Thomas’ commitment to undergraduate research, academic advising, and student project teams. Thomas is the Faculty Adviser of Clarkson’s Concrete Canoe team, which recently placed third at the Upstate NY American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Conference.
Thomas, who joined the University in 2018, says his research mission is to “engineer concrete solutions for the next generation of resilient and sustainable infrastructure.” His work lies at the intersection of materials science, experimental mechanics, and sustainability. He is particularly interested in alternative cements, engineered cementitious composites, and high strain-rate mechanics (impact and blast). He was recently awarded a nearly $100k grant from NASA to study lunar concrete, which is an infrastructure material designed for use in lunar construction.
He is an active member of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). He was recognized as an ACI Emerging Leader in 2019 and ASTM Emerging Professional in 2020.
Thomas earned his bachelor of science, master of science and Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Clarkson University.