Learn by Doing Awards

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

About the Awards

The Learn by Doing Awards recognize outstanding faculty contributions to Cal Poly’s signature pedagogy of Learn by Doing. In 2022, these awards are evolving to 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.

Two awards will be presented, each accompanied by a cash prize of $2,000.

Faculty self-nominate and directly submit applications. Team applications are welcome and may include Cal Poly students.  All applications are reviewed by a faculty committee with representatives from each college and the library. Applications must be submitted online by April 18, 2022, at 5:00pm. Award winners will be notified by April 29, 2022, and the awards will be presented at the 2022 Fall Convocation.

The Library Dean’s Advisory Council established the Learn by Doing Awards in 2014, and they continue to be supported by generous donors.

Applicant Eligibility

All Cal Poly faculty (Unit 3) who have been employed for at least one quarter during the current academic year (2021-2022) are eligible to apply for the awards. Previous award recipients are not eligible.

Review Criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on how the Learn by Doing activity or project 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.
  • Demonstrating a student-focused and academically rigorous approach.

How to Apply

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

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

  2. A description of the project or activity that addresses the Learn by Doing outcomes listed in the above criteria (1500 words maximum).  

  3. Brief biographical sketches for the applicant and any collaborators and/or students (5 pages maximum). 

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

2021-2022 Application Due Date: April 18, 2022, at 5:00pm. 

Apply online here.



Previous Learn by Doing Award Recipients
Year Award
Completed Award/Career Award Recipients Proposed or In-Progress Award/Emerging Career Recipients
  • 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