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Naval Academy Professors Receive Teaching, Research Awards

Posted on: January 28, 2013 08:00 EST by Naval Academy Public Affairs

Congratulations to three of our professors who recently received teaching and research awards!

Professor Elsa Bennett of the Languages and Cultures Department received the Class of 1951 Civilian Faculty Teaching Excellence Award given in honor of Professor Theodore J. Benac.

An experienced and talented instructor, Bennett distinguishes herself in her ability to balance serious learning with in-class fun. She has a reputation among midshipmen for being patient and driven to see that they learn. Her deep understanding and knowledge of the Spanish language and Latin American and Spanish literature, combined with her clarity, interpersonal communication skills, creativity, and outstanding ability to be organized at all times make her and excellent teacher, said Academic Dean and Provost Andrew Phillips in an announcement to midshipmen, faculty and staff.

Beyond the classroom, she contributes to discussions on proposed changes in curriculum, study abroad programs and technology, all in terms of their long-range implications for the Languages and Cultures Department and for the academy as a whole.

Capt. Owen Thorp, permanent military professor in the Weapons and Systems Engineering Department received the Class of 1951 Military Faculty Teaching Excellence Award and the William P. Clements Award. A highly skilled teacher, Thorp has shown great versatility in teaching 18 different courses in three different departments and was the course coordinator for three of those courses, said Phillips.

His scholarly contributions include student research collaborations, peer reviewed journal articles, pedagogical articles, conference proceedings and presentations, technical reports, and a textbook chapter. Additionally, Thorp is senior academic advisor for the department and serves as academic advisor for the lacrosse team.

Professor Karen Flack of the Mechanical Engineering Department received the Class of 1951 Civilian Faculty Research Excellence Award.

Flack came to the academy in 1993 as an expert in the thermal fluids sciences area. Since that time she has developed an international reputation in the study of turbulent boundary layers and frictional drag effects. With support from the Office of Naval Research, she has supported 12 midshipman research projects, four Trident Scholars, two post-doctoral researchers and one Fulbright Scholar.

Flack serves on the editorial board for the International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, serves as a member of the organizing committee for the International Conference on Turbulent Shear, and is a reviewer for a number of select journals including the Journal of Fluid Mechanics and Physics of Fluids.


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