2012 U.S. Professor of the Year




Professor, OCW advocate, socio-economic diversity champion, one-pony pedagogy assailant, UDL believer, replicating education-research studies supporter.









AUTAR KAW is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering , 2012 U.S Professor of the Year, and a Jerome Krivanek Distinguished Teacher at the University of South Florida, Tampa.  


Professor Kaw believes that the most important function of a university including research universities will continue to be on the learning side. As much as we need more qualified college graduates, we also need highly talented graduates to invent the next big thing - it could be an economic renewable energy resource or a cure for the chronic diseases of the mind and body. If we want to truly create opportunities for our future generations, we have to first address the socioeconomic divide in our country. To address it for higher education while even maintaining the current meritocracy which favors the wealthy, we as a society should fully sponsor the education of the top academic standing quartile who belong to the lowest income quartile families. After all, 17% of the brightest high school students in our nation do belong in that category.


Professor Kaw received his BE Honors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology and Science ( BITS), India in 1981. He received his Ph.D. degree in 1987 and M.S. degree in 1984, both in Engineering Mechanics from Clemson University, SC.  (Read more..).




EXPERTISE: Flipped Classrooms, Adaptive Learning, Massive Open Online Course Development, Open Courseware. Engineering Education Research Methods, Mechanics of Composite Materials, Elasticity, Fracture, Thermal Stresses.


























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2017 NEWS


December 2017

Published a paper in Composites: Part A on "Transverse shear modulus of unidirectional composites with voids estimated by the multiple-cells model”


June 25, 2017

Presented a final paper of our Flippped Grant - "Blended vs. Flipped Teaching: One Course - Three Engineering Schools”, at the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition in Columbus, OH


March 10-11, 2017

Participated in a TPSE Chairs+1 meeting at University of Maryland College Park campus and led an invited workshop on: How to Increase Cognitive and Affective Gains in Student Performance (slides)


March 2-5, 2017

Led a workshop on flipped classrooms, attended a workshop on Active Learning, and chaired a session on professional practice at the ASEE Zone 2 Conference, San Juan, PR.


January 5-7, 2017

Gave a TED style talk on Genesis of an Open Courseware followed by a panel discussion on Yearn to Earn and Learn at BITSAA Global Meet 2017 in Dubai, UAE.


NEWS FROM PREVIOUS YEARS:    2016  |  2015  |  2014  |  2013  |  2012  |  2011  |



I firmly believe that our students want to learn, and it has been proven that their level and type of learning is strongly coupled to effective assessment methods. Hence, it becomes critical to have the components of the course grade meet the learning objectives as well as the high expectations I have for them. For example, in my course on numerical methods, the grading components include varied items such as:

  1. Concept tests:  Held in the first week of classes, the pre-concept test reassesses students' understanding of the core concepts that they should know from the prerequisite courses while the post-concept test held in the last week of classes shows the gains they have made in their knowledge.

  2. Online self-assessment quizzes: Each student gets problems with different numbers for a homework quiz, which keeps each accountable while also fostering online study-hall conversations.

  3. Special assignments: These include writing essays and poems.

  4. Projects: These are open-ended, realistic and ill-defined. In some projects, no data are given-some data have to be assumed while other data have to be found from other sources.

Rather than choose and be attached to a particular pedagogy, I believe that it is important to mix methods of instruction to reach, encourage and challenge our diverse student population. We are fortunate to live in a time where we have access to evidence-based research in learning sciences and, hence, can confidently use only those findings that are verified and validated.


 I also firmly believe in the open and free dissemination of educational materials, and there is ample evidence now of how this has profoundly improved education, diversified modes of learning and created opportunities for everyone. Since 2002, I have been leading the development, assessment and national dissemination of National Science Foundation-funded courseware for an undergraduate engineering course in numerical methods. The course resources are customizable but were developed holistically as it has been proven that transfer of knowledge is more likely to take place if done in multiple perspectives than just in a single context. The open courseware has become very popular worldwide and through its affiliated social media outlets provides a sustainable learning platform via interaction, engagement and discussion in the global classroom.


I believe that the classroom is not just an avenue for cognitive learning but also for meaningful social interaction and affective learning. Treating students with respect and creating a vibrant atmosphere in the classroom is essential. The informal contact during office hours, in hallways, before class starts, after class and at the student organization meetings is critical in building students' interpersonal skills as well as in enhancing the human dimension to the faculty-student interaction.



Professor Kaw's main scholarly interests are in engineering education research, flipped classrooms, open courseware development, bascule bridge design, fracture mechanics, composite materials, computational nanomechanics, and the state and future of higher education. His research has been funded by National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Florida Department of Transportation, Research and Development Laboratories, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and Montgomery Tank Lines.


Since 2002, under Professor Kaw's leadership, he and his colleagues from around the nation have developed, implemented, refined and assessed online resources for open courseware in Numerical Methods ( This courseware annually receives more than a million page views, 900,000 views of the YouTube lectures and 150,000 annual visitors to the "numerical methods guy" blog. Professor Kaw's has written more than 80 refereed technical papers and his opinion editorials have appeared in the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune.

Educational Research

  • How do you like your class - Semi-Flipped or Blended? (Abstract)

  • Comparing Different Formats of a Final Exam for a Numerical Methods Course (Abstract)

  • A Holistic View on History, Development, Assessment, And Future of an Open Courseware in Numerical Methods (Abstract).

  • Development and Assessment of Digital Audiovisual YouTube Lectures for an Engineering Course In Numerical Methods (Abstract )

  • Measuring Student Learning Using Initial and Final Concept Test in a STEM Course (Abstract)

  • Does Grading HW Improve Examination Performance? (Abstract )

  • Effect of Endless Quizzes on Examination Performance. (Abstract )

  • Introducing and Assessing Laboratory Experience in a Numerical Methods Course for Engineers (Abstract)

  • Problem-Centered Approach in a Course in Numerical Methods (Abstract)

  • Comparing Modalities of Teaching a Module in Numerical Methods (Abstract)

Composite Materials Research

  • A Better Body Armor (Article & Slide Show)

  • Indentation Test for Composite Materials Revisited (Abstract )

  • Thermo-mechanical Beam Element for Analyzing Stresses in Functionally Graded Materials (Abstract)

  • Optimizing Specific Strength of Infused Fiber Reinforced Sandwich Composites (Abstract)

  • How does Interphase Modeling Affect Nanoindentation Test Results? (Abstract)

  • Is Crack Propagation in Composite Materials Independent of Fiber Volume Fraction? (Abstract )

Bridge Design Research

  • Evaluating different assembly procedures of trunnion-hub-girder assembly (Abstract

  • How does geometry affect successful (no cracking) trunnion-hub-girder assembly procedure?  (Abstract ). 

  • Does step-cooling make trunnion-hub-girder assembly procedure fail-safe? (Abstract )

  • The thermal expansion of a hole in irregular geometries. 

Sports Analytics

  • A metric to quantify topsy-turvyness of a college football season (Site)


Collaborative & Co-Investigator Research

  • Evaluation of LuGre Tire Friction Model with Measured Data on Multiple Pavement Surfaces ( Abstract )

  • Predicting Academic Performance (Abstract). 



As part of the trinity of being a professor, I believe that service is an integral part of any profession.  I enjoy service that is behind the scenes and at the same time that has a quiet service leadership component.  The role of the connected world has helped me do this in more ways than one.  From heading a search committee at the departmental level to answering questions from the Numerical Methods YouTube channel subscribers to being a reluctant keynote speaker at an education conference, each contribution adds up synergistically in its own way.

Read some of my newspaper columns and views including ones on

When the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power (Alston Chase).