Tia really cares about her students and enjoys being involved in their activities. As a Professor of Civil Engineering Technology and the award-winning advisor for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Chapter, she spends a lot of time with students in class and out of class. That is important to her. Her efforts are paying off. The ASCE Student Chapter is very active. The Chapter was the 2008 and 2009 runner up and 2014 second runner up to the top national award, the Ridgeway Award, given by the ASCE Committee on Student Members (CSM), and received the Zone IV Governor's award in 2008, 2009, 2014. Out of 300+ student chapters nationwide, the chapter has received national awards for their overall activities which include professional, service, and social activities, every year except one, since its inception. In addition, Fairmont State represented the entire region at the National Concrete Canoe Competitions for twelve consecutive years and has been the only West Virginia college invited to this event. Their steel bridge team also qualified for the National Bridge Competition 2 years in a row. Tia, who has been a full-time professor here since 1998 also conducted research for the West Virginia Department of Highways on pile walls used to stabilize landslides, wanted to teach full-time at FSU because of its smaller class sizes. Having earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in civil engineering from WVU, she wanted to teach classes where students receive more personal attention. For her efforts helping students, Tia was honored with the Excellence in Academic Advising Award and was nominated for the Boram and Straight teach awards twice at FSU and was honored by ASCE as Zone IV Advisor of the year.
While teaching at Fairmont State, I have learned that the students want to learn. As their professor, you have to genuinely want them to learn and may sometimes have to modify your approach to reach them all, which often creates more work for you. No question is stupid! If you treat them with respect, they will treat you with more respect and they will work harder.
I give a lot and I expect a lot, and by and large the response has been favorable. My classes are not “textbook.” Engineering is not an exact science and so answers are not black and white. Tying real life scenarios to the textbook materials really helps students to understand real word approaches to problem solving, even if the solutions are long and involved.