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Glenn Ellis

Professor of Engineering

email Send E–mail office Office: Ford Hall 351 phone Phone: (413) 585-4598
Curriculum vitae (PDF)
Glenn Ellis

Glenn Ellis is a civil engineer with a strong interest in reforming engineering education to meet the demands and opportunities of the knowledge age. Much of his current research is focused on designing undergraduate engineering learning environments that support deep learning and innovation. However, he also believes that reforming engineering education—and the role of women in engineering—needs to start well before the college level. To help meet this need, Ellis works extensively with K-12 educators. As part of this effort, he has collaborated with Smith students and professionals to develop the Talk to Me educational website for middle school children.

In 2007 Glenn Ellis received the U.S. Professor of the Year Award for Baccalaureate Colleges from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the only national award for excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.

Ellis graduated in 1983 with a bachelor of science in civil engineering from Lehigh University, where he worked on research in soil dynamics and soil testing. He earned master's (1985) and doctoral degrees (1987) from Princeton University in civil engineering and operations research. At Princeton Ellis used stochastic processes to model earthquake strong ground motion.

During the course of his career, Ellis has increasingly focused his research on engineering education—particularly the creation of learning environments that support knowledge building, the use of cognitive tools to engage students and frame understanding, and the development of assessment approaches that better measure deep learning. At the college level Ellis taught previously at Clarkson University, where he won numerous teaching awards. His research focused on using stochastic processes and artificial neural networks to model mechanical and environmental systems. He also has taught at the United States Air Force Academy and conducted earthquake engineering research at the Kajima Corporation in Japan. At the secondary school level, Ellis has experience in administration, teaching and curriculum development that includes positions at St. Paul's School and Brunswick School.

Ellis and his wife Sonia (a writer), have two sons and enjoy the beauty, ideals and culture of the Pioneer Valley. Ellis believes strongly in the ethical treatment of animals. He likes to spend time outdoors, draw, collect art and antiques, and play with his dogs in his spare time.

Selected Publications

Ellis, G.W. and Thornton, K. (2011) Using Cognitive Tools to Engage the Imagination and Frame Learning in Geotechnical Engineering, Journal of Applications and Practices in Engineering Education.

Ellis, G.W., Rudnitsky, A.N., Moriarty, M.A., Mikic, B. (2011) Preparing Engineers for Innovation and Collaboration in the Knowledge Economy, International Journal of Engineering Education.

Ellis, G.W. and Silva, K.L.S. (in press) An Integrated Approach: Using Artificial Intelligence to Teach Language Arts, Electronic Journal of Literacy through Science.

McAuliffe, L.R., Ellis, G.W., Ellis, S.K., Huff, I., McGinnis-Cavanaugh, B. (2011) Mysteries and Heroes: Using Imaginative Education to Engage Middle School Learners in Engineering, Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, Vancouver, BC, June 26-29.

Busch-Vishniac, I., Kibler, T., Campbell, P.B., Patterson, E. Guillaume, D., Jarosz, J., Chassapis, C., Emery, A., Ellis, G.W., Whitworth, H., Metz, S., Brainard, S., Ray, P. (2011) Deconstructing Engineering Education Programs: The DEEP Project to Reform the Mechanical Engineering Curriculum, European Journal of Engineering Education, 36 (3) 269-283.

Ellis, G.W., Rudnitsky, A.N., Moriarty, M.A. (2010) Theoretic Stories: Creating Deeper Learning in Introductory Engineering Courses. International Journal of Engineering Education, 26 (5) 1-11.

Selected Honors and Awards