Professor Receives MU Distinguished Teacher Award

Photo of James Moller

Associate Professor, James Moller, mechanical and manufacturing engineering, received the Miami University Distinguished Teacher Award, which is conferred upon faculty whose achievements unequivocally merit recognition for excellence in teaching (Associate Professor category).

Students credit Moller, who has taught at Miami 18 years, with taking as much time as needed to discuss a problem in class and to stay late into the evening with students in his office until a problem’s solution is found.

In his machine and tool design class, said to thoroughly prepare students “for the rigors of professional mechanical engineering design,” each student serves as a project team leader once per semester. Leaders are provided with advice on tactics for leading teams – a new concept in engineering education.

In his innovation design projects course, Moller assigns articles that highlight disparities in conditions across the globe to encourage student teams to choose projects that meet societal needs. Students express gratitude at the opportunity to reflect and to try to solve an engineering need. Novel creations have included a net-enclosed hammock to keep out disease-carrying insects and a load transport to be used after a disaster.

Said a former student, “Dr. Moller’s class stood out as the most beneficial class that I took during my tenure at Miami in terms of preparing me for the engineering aspect of my career, but it was our interactions outside of the classroom that had a lasting impression on the deeper aspects of life that I had never expected from a professor. … I had never met nor heard of a professor who was as passionate about the growth of the student as he was about his profession. … I could easily write a book chronicling all the times that Dr. Moller had taken that extra step that wasn’t required in his title as professor for me, but what it boiled down to was the Dr. Moller became a mentor instead of a professor, a friend instead of a faculty member. I cannot put a value on the profound effect that he had on every aspect of my college career nor on my future career but one thing is certain, I would not have the principles nor the skills I currently have without him.”