PhD Candidate Mechanical Engineering
Spring 2023 Winner
Ben Phillips' teaching philosophy is built upon the belief that students are the future stewards of our world. His aim is not only to prepare them with the hard skills required in STEM fields but also to instill a deep sense of social responsibility. He envisions the classroom as a transformative space where students enter seeking skills for their future careers and leave with a heightened sense of empathy and a desire to make a positive impact on the world.
Phillips understands that students learn through different methods, which is why he tailors his instruction to meet their needs. He recognizes that novice learners often benefit from passive methods like lectures to establish foundational knowledge structures. However, for more experienced students, active learning is crucial to engagement and deeper understanding. In his classes, he incorporates active learning activities, such as evaluating real-world solutions like the fuel crisis in Haiti, to demonstrate the power of their skills and their potential to effect positive change.
One of the distinguishing aspects of Phillips' teaching is his commitment to recognizing the unique value of each student. He actively seeks to understand their backgrounds, challenges, and strengths, creating an inclusive environment that celebrates diversity. This involves one-on-one meetings with students to learn about their life stories and potential difficulties they may face. By taking these factors into account, he structures groups and assignments that allow every student to thrive, ensuring that no one is left behind.
In receiving the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award in STEM, Ben Phillips has not only demonstrated exceptional teaching ability but has also highlighted the importance of instilling both technical expertise and a strong sense of social responsibility in the next generation of STEM leaders.
What Students Say
Professor Phillips is a spectacular professor who engages his students extremely well by building his classroom as a cooperative and challenging learning environment. Walking into Professor Phillips' class was the best part of my day. I looked forward to the challenge, joy, and engineering Professor Phillips would bring to class. He made every interaction fun and allowed us to see real-world engineering.