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10/19/11 - Warnock among selections for national engineering symposium

A Mississippi State biomedical engineering faculty member recognized for his problem-based teaching methods will participate next month in a special National Academy of Engineering symposium.

James Warnock, an associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering in the university's James Worth Bagley College of Engineering, is among 65 selected to attend the Nov. 13-16 Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium in Irvine, Calif.

Established in 1964, the NAE is an independent, nonprofit institution that serves as an adviser to government and the public on issues in engineering and technology. Its membership includes the nation's premier engineers, elected by their peers for distinguished achievements.

NAE operates under the congressional charter granted to the National Academy of Sciences in 1863.

Participants from around the country were chosen to take part in the third annual symposium, which is geared toward helping early career faculty develop and implement innovative educational approaches in a variety of engineering fields. After sharing ideas and learning from research and education best practices, they will return to their respective institutions to help share these improvements with colleagues.

"The Frontiers of Engineering Education program creates a unique venue for engineering faculty members to share and explore interesting and effective innovations in teaching and learning," said NAE President Charles M. Vest. "We want FOEE to become a major force in identifying, recognizing and promulgating advances and innovations in order to build a strong intellectual infrastructure and commitment to 21st-century engineering education."

Nominated by fellow engineers or college deans, Warnock and the other participants were selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants, he said.

Jonathan W. Pote, agricultural and biological engineering department head, said Warnock's innovative classroom work makes him worthy of this achievement.

"This is really good recognition for him, the college and the university," Pote said.

Warnock has taught a senior-level biomedical materials course at MSU since 2006. In the class, students do not have lectures or exams. Working in groups instead, they focus on a series of problems related to contemporary issues in biomaterials.

Biomedical materials relates to the medical device industry. Complications with orthopedic implants, bone fracture plates and related complications, stem cell issues, and drug delivery systems are among some major issues dealt with by professionals in the field.

After three or four weeks, Warnock's students explain their solutions to the problems through submission of research papers and oral presentations.

Warnock said this type of class environment helps create real-world scenarios for students.

"When they graduate and go to either medical or graduate school or work in the biomedical industry, they need to feel like they've had good preparation for their professional career," he said.

Warnock completed a master's degree in biochemical engineering and a doctorate in chemical engineering, both from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. He received a bachelor's in biological sciences from the University of Wolverhampton, also in the UK.

Prior to the MSU faculty appointment, he completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Georgia Institute of Technology's biological engineering department. His professional memberships include the Society of Heart Valve Disease and the Biomedical Engineering Society.

Robbie S. Ward | University Relations

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