Dr. Juan Abelló wins UBC Killam Teaching Prize

Congratulations to Associate Professor of Teaching Juan Abelló on receiving a 2021-2022 Killam Teaching Prize! Recognizing excellence in teaching, recipients of the Killam Teaching Prize are nominated by students, colleagues and alumni. Dr. Abelló is one of three Applied Science faculty members to receive this prestigious UBC honour.

Dr. Abelló is a dedicated teacher both within the UBC Mechanical Engineering undergraduate program, and for the Applied Science stream of Vantage College, UBC’s first year program that integrates English language support with arts, science, and engineering content instruction. As part of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Abelló teaches thermodynamics and engineering software in our integrated second-year program, Mech 2, and has previously brought engineering concepts to students outside of Applied Science as part of the Engineering for Non‐Engineers teaching team.  At Vantage College he is the program Chair for the Applied Science stream, in addition to teaching first-year engineering analysis, and co-teaching sustainability and engineering design. With a background in industry, he brings a hands-on teaching approach that involves students in learning through practical application. Students have responded to his teaching innovation and delivery with outstanding evaluations throughout the courses he instructs.

As a member of the Mechanical Engineering Educational Leadership team, Dr. Abelló is dedicating to revising curriculum delivery to fit student learning needs. With an evidence-based approach, literature review and consultation with colleagues, he has transformed the second-year engineering software unit from a traditional lecture format, to a series of self-paced modules with classroom support. This allows students to engage the subject matter in a way that fits their individual learning style, while taking full advantage of instructor and TA support during class time. At Vantage College, he approaches curriculum with the understanding that “teaching engineering to language learners” requires different techniques, and he employs active learning components such as flipped classroom modules and role playing exercises to engage students in complex technical or design concepts. As part of his educational leadership work, he brings a dedication to open educational resources and student wellness.  This includes initiatives to embed mental health literacy and wellness content into his Mech 2 and Vantage College courses, and studies to track student academic buoyancy through the year in the Applied Science stream of Vantage College.

Read about all of the Faculty of Applied Science winners on their website.