Learn by Doing Scholar Awards

Learn by Doing Scholar Awards: Recognizing the Impact of Cal Poly’s Award Signature Pedagogy

About the Awards

The Learn by Doing Scholar Awards recognize outstanding faculty contributions to Cal Poly’s signature pedagogy of Learn by Doing. These awards emphasize the impact of Cal Poly’s distinctive educational approach by translating learning into practice to make a difference in disciplines and industries across California and around the world. Successful applications will provide compelling evidence of the impact of Learn by Doing through curriculum-related instructional and research/creative activities, as well as demonstrate an academically rigorous and student-centered approach to learning. The Library Dean’s Advisory Council established the Learn by Doing Scholar Awards in 2014, and they continue to be supported by generous donors.

2024 Learn by Doing Scholar Awards Committee
Robert M. Arens, College of Architecture and Environmental Design
Randi Barros, College of Liberal Arts
Javier de la Fuente, Orfalea College of Business
Brian Greenwood, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
Ben Lutz, College of Engineering
Jeanine Scaramozzino, Robert E. Kennedy Library
Gregg Scott, Bailey College of Science and Mathematics

Applicant Eligibility

All Cal Poly faculty (Unit 3) who have been employed for at least one quarter during the current academic year are eligible to apply for the awards. Previous award recipients are not eligible.

Review Criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on the originality of the activity or project and the unique application of Learn by Doing pedagogies, as well as how it achieves the following outcomes: 

  • Translating learning into practice by engaging students in the discipline, industry and/or community.
  • Inspiring students to value the link between learning and practical application.
  • Leveraging collaborative partnerships in the discipline, and industry and/or community.
  • Addressing the challenges and needs of today (and tomorrow) in the discipline, industry, and/or community. 
  • Working across disciplines, academic institutions and/or other external partnerships. 
  • Positively impacting people and industries in California, across the country, and around the world through disciplinary application. 
  • Demonstrating the achievement of student learning outcomes through a student-focused and academically rigorous approach that includes assessment of student learning. 

How to Apply

Applications are due Friday, March 8, at 5:00pm

For questions regarding the application process, please contact one of the coordinators:
Shelly Kurkeyerian (Library) ude.yloplacnull@eyekruks
Katherine O’Clair (Library) ude.yloplacnull@rialcok

A complete application will include the following four (4) elements submitted through an online form: 

  1. Contact information for applicant and collaborators and/or students. 

  2. A description of the original project or activity that explains the unique application of Learn by Doing and addresses the outcomes listed in the above criteria.   

  3. Brief biographical sketches for the applicant and any collaborators and/or students. 

  4. One example of evidence of impact on student learning (e.g., student testimonials, media coverage, professional award, scholarly paper or presentation). 

Previous Learn by Doing Award Recipients

2023 Winners

Dr. Jasmine Nation, Liberal Studies
Dr.  Alejandra Yep, Biological Sciences
Nuestra Ciencia

2022 Winners

Randi Barros, Interdisciplinary Studies in Liberal Arts
Cal Poly Short Cuts Student Film Festival

Pauline Faure, Aerospace Engineering
ETOILES PowerSat Project – A Small but Mighty Spacecraft to Tackle Climate Change

Year Award
Completed Award/Career Award
Proposed or In-Progress Award/Emerging
Career Recipients
  • No awards given due to COVID-19
  • Teaching Architectural Technology: A Scholarly Approach
  • Robert Arens, Architecture
  • Carmen Trudell, Architecture
  • Brian Osborn, Architecture
  • Genetic Code in a Test Tube: Unlocking the Cell for Learn by Doing
  • Javin Oza, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Katharine Watts, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Design Thinking as a Framework for Teaching Packaging Innovation
  • Javier de la Fuente, Industrial Technology and Packaging
  • Irene Carbonell, Industrial Technology and Packaging
  • Mary LaPorte, Graphic Design
  • Effectiveness of Intergenerational Service Learning Programs for Psychology of Aging
  • Sara Bartlett, Psychology and Child Development
  • Learning by Doing Statistics: Having Students Engage with Scientific Studies that Matter, Every Day
  • Soma Roy, Statistics
  • Beth Chance, Statistics
  • Karen McGaughey, Statistics
  • Allan Rossman, Statistics
  • Building Intercultural Competence Through Cultural Immersion Projects
  • Julie Rodgers, Psychology and Child Development
  • Why Do Some Students Choose to Get Involved in Co-curricular Engineering Projects?
  • Graham Doig, Aerospace Engineering
  • The Impact of Peer Mentoring on Marketing Content Mastery
  • Lynn Metcalf, Industrial Technology
  • Stern Neill, Marketing
  • Lisa Simon, Marketing
  • Sharon Dobson, Finance
  • Brennan Davis, Marketing
  • Flipping Whitman: Collaborative Learn by Doing in the (Digital) Humanities
  • Catherine Waitinas, English
  • Inquiry-Based Learning Activities in Dynamics
  • Brian Self, Mechanical Engineering
  • James Widmann, Mechanical Engineering
  • Cal Poly Studio Chemistry: An Examination of Student Outcomes
  • Alan Kiste, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Gregory Scott, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Learning Design Through the Lens of Service: a Qualitative Study
  • J. Kevin Taylor, Kinesiology
  • David Hey, Kinesiology
  • Brian Self, Mechanical Engineering
  • Lynne Slivovsky, Electrical Engineering
  • James Widmann, Mechanical Engineering
  • Challenging to Students to Design Their Process for Becoming a “World-Class Engineering Student”: Pedagogical Innovations
  • Steffen Peuker, Mechanical Engineering
  • Jennifer Mott, Mechanical Engineering