The Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering’s senior class has named Chance McColl as the 2021 Most Valuable Professor (MVP).
The MVP award is awarded annually by the Georgia Tech chapter of the Sigma Gamma Tau national honor society. Paul Carter, the outgoing Sigma Gamma Tau president and graduating senior, announced McColl as the MVP during the AE Virtual Recognition Ceremony held in May.
“Everyone voting for Dr. McColl praised his ability to teach system dynamics and controls and felt that by taking his class they were better prepared to succeed as they progressed through the aerospace curriculum,” said Carter.
“It’s quite an honor to receive this award,” said McColl, a lecturer in the School. “It's been many years since my undergraduate days, but I can still remember the professors who had a positive impact on me.”
McColl received his master’s and doctoral degrees from Georgia Tech’s School of Aerospace Engineering after completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
McColl has more than 28 years of experience as an aircraft loads engineer and currently serves as vice president for Technical Data Analysis, Inc., an engineering and software development consulting firm. He oversees their loads engineering, aircraft fatigue, and life tracking application development for U.S. military and government, international, and industry. He became a part-time lecturer during the Spring 2015 semester where he began teaching Flight Dynamics. During his time at Tech, he has taught Rotorcraft Design, System Dynamics and Vibration, Control System Analysis and Design, Flight Dynamics, Mechanics of Deformable Bodies, and Statics.
“I had the advantage of being able to teach part-time at Georgia Tech while still working in the aviation industry full-time,” said McColl. “I try and share my experiences working with the students on how they will apply what they're learning when they're out in the real world. I think having that connection gives more meaning and weight to the course material.”
Teaching courses during the pandemic has held its own set of challenges, but McColl’s student-centered approach hasn’t changed.
Twice a semester he solicits anonymous feedback from students to understand how the semester is going and learn what can he do to better present the material.
“The challenge with online teaching is not getting that immediate feedback, whether it's from questions or nods, or even puzzled looks,” explained McColl. “I've worked to address this by continuing to encourage questions, whether by voice or via the chat window, and by making myself available via a wider range of mediums like texting, ad-hoc virtual office hours, and so on.”
McColl credits Georgia Tech and the School’s support during this unprecedented school year and looks forward to returning to campus in the Fall. “Through their support and resources, I - like so many others at Tech - adjusted courses while maintaining the vital technical and real-world problem solving needed for the next class of engineers,” said McColl. “Receiving the MVP award from this particular class of aerospace engineering seniors is something that I will cherish for many years to come.”