Robert Kirkman, associate professor in the School of Public Policy, has been named a recipient of a 2013 Geoffrey Eichholz Teaching Award for his innovative work in converting his ethics classes to problem-based learning.
Kirkman's decision to reformat his classes "shows a deep concern on his part with effective teaching and learning, tailored not only to the material, but also to the student’s needs. His reflexive awareness of his classroom and his determination mid-career to invest considerable time in retooling himself to provide his students with a superior course ... should be commended," wrote Diana Hicks, chair of the School of Public Policy, in her letter of nomination.
Kirkman's work in redesigning his ethics classes is part of a broader initiative of the Center for Ethics and Technology. The initiative is working to establish Georgia Tech as a center of innovation in ethics education.
"Ethics education is and should be an essential part of preparing students for work as professionals in any field," says Kirkman of his teaching perspective. "Engineers, for example, may think of themselves as focused primarily on finding technical solutions to technical problems, but they are always doing so in a social context, working with and for other people. This means that they will always, at the same time, be called upon to recognize and resolve human problems, ethical problems."
Established in 2005 through a gift from School of Mechanical Engineering Regents’ Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Eichholz, this annual award recognizes faculty who provide outstanding teaching to students in core and general education undergraduate courses. Recipients receive $5,000 per year for three years.