Michael Yovanovich, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 1995

Mechanical Engineering

Enthusiasm, clarity of explanation, and going beyond the textbook are the dominant teaching traits remembered by every student who has taken a course with professor Mike Yovanovich. Dr. Yovanovich has been a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering since 1969. A description of his excellence in teaching is most appropriately captured using the words of students, alumni, and colleagues. Professor Yovanovich generates comments like the following, and I quote: “His enthusiasm is both undying and infectious” “Inspiring” “Learning is never passive” “When he walks into the class, he lights it up with a degree of excitement that words cannot describe” “Encouraging” “I find his approach to teaching quite remarkable” Beyond words of admiration, testimonials exist on the almost singular impact professor Yovanovich has had on many a student. For example, one alumnus remarked that his unpleasant experience with Heat Transfer I, was a deciding factor in his choosing not to pursue the thermal option in mechanical engineering. He warily elected to take Heat Transfer II. In conclusion, this alumnus now credits professor Yovanovich for making Heat Transfer II his “best course” as an undergraduate. Clarity of presentation is crucial to effective teaching. Not surprisingly, one student recounts the following story: “The first thing I remember about him is the clarity with which he wrote a single differential equation on the blackboard (filling it up). No other professor has been clearer. This degree of legibility, combined with clarity of voice and tone, made it fun to listen. … From that day onwards, I have always wanted to take good notes in my classes.” One would be remiss not to mention professor Yovanovich's recent efforts to incorporate state-of-the-art teaching tools such as Maple into his classes. In doing so he has replaced the burden of many tedious computations with a demand that the students place more emphasis on understanding the physical and mathematical concepts involved.