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CEAS Selects Coon For H.T. Person Professorship

June 7, 2016
Dennis Coon mug shot
Dennis Coon

Dennis Coon has been named to the H.T. Person Professorship in Engineering Education in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Wyoming.

This is a three-year appointment and can be renewed once for a total of six years. The H.T. Person Professorship in Engineering Education was named in honor of H.T. Person, who served UW from 1929 to 1968 as professor of civil engineering, head of the Department of Civil Engineering, dean of the college and 16th president of the university. Person developed a reputation as a leader who put students first and was remembered as a mentor, father figure and friend. 

Coon will be the third person to assume duties of the post. He’ll step into the spot occupied by David Whitman, who retired from UW in 2016 and had served in the role since 2013. Charles Dolan served for 10 years in the role since its inception in 2002. 

“My predecessors in this position were two of the finest faculty, mentors and leaders in the college,” Coon says. “This appointment is both an extreme honor and a little frightening as I attempt to fill their shoes.”

Coon is a professor of mechanical engineering and has served as the interim department head of chemical engineering since August 2015. He will assume his new duties for the professorship in July, and will focus on taking an overall view of teaching and learning within the college to improve in all areas.

His tasks include formulating ways to integrate active learning into the curriculum of the college. Coon also will focus on ways to ensure undergraduates are exposed to design concepts early in their academic career. He’ll also perform engineering education research in an attempt to quantify best practices to prepare students for success.

Coon has a background in ceramic science and engineering, earning degrees from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and Pennsylvania State University. He began his teaching career in 1988 at UW in mechanical engineering and became a professor in 1999.

His areas of technical focus include structure-processing-property relationships in advanced engineering materials, mechanical behavior, chemical and thermal stability in harsh environments, stochastic modeling of material behavior, and application of continuous process improvement to materials production.

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