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Thomas L. Martin receives 2011 Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholars Award


Tom Martin Tom Martin

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 26, 2011 – Thomas L. Martin, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, received the university's 2011 Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholars Award.

Sponsored by the Diggs Endowed Professorship Fund and the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research, the Diggs Teaching Scholars Award was established in 1992 and is presented annually to three Virginia Tech faculty members to recognize exceptional contributions to the teaching program and learning environment. A cash award is given to each recipient and their academic department. Diggs Teaching Scholars are invited to lead the Diggs Roundtable -- a series of presentations and a discussion of their innovative teaching -- a year after receiving the award.

The award is supported by an endowed fund from an estate gift by the late Edward S. and Hattie Wilson Diggs. Edward Diggs was a 1914 graduate of Virginia Tech.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2001, Martin has a reputation in his department and across campus as an excellent educator who brings tremendous enthusiasm to the classroom and provides students with unique and meaningful design experiences in class projects and through independent study and undergraduate research, said Scott Midkiff, professor and head of the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

“Tom is a superb, creative, and dedicated educator who thinks deeply about pedagogy and the curriculum and who is dedicated to improving education beyond his own teaching,” said Midkiff, who nominated Martin for the award.

In 2004, Martin received the College of Engineering’s Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Innovation, primarily for his innovative course called Wearable and Ubiquitous Computing. In 2006, he was named a College of Engineering Dean’s Faculty Fellow.

“Tom works with other faculty from across campus to realize interdisciplinary design experiences for his students,” Midkiff said. “Some of his projects have involved faculty from industrial design, marketing, and engineering education. Tom and other faculty have advised student teams that have addressed design challenges such as creating pet care products for use by the elderly, improving safety at construction sites, designing dorm rooms to better support students with disabilities, creating innovative helmets for firefighters, and developing a curtain for a fashion show with lights that track models.”

His ability to integrate research with education is widely regarded within his profession. Martin was one of just 20 beginning investigators supported by the National Science Foundation who received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2006. PECASE recipients are selected on the basis of the quality of research, education and career development plans, and the potential for national impact in research and education.

Martin received his bachelor's degree from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University.

The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. The college's 6,000 undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a "hands-on, minds-on" approach to engineering education, complementing classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 2,000 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study such as biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.