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Dr. Matt Pharr, a Montague-CTE Scholars Award recipient. | Image: Justin Baetge/ Texas A&M Engineering Communications

Dr. Matt Pharr, assistant professor in the J. Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University, takes his place among less than 300 faculty members in 30 years as a Montague-CTE (Center for Teaching Excellence) Scholars Award recipient for his achievements in teaching undergraduate students.

According to Pharr, his dedication to teaching stems from his enjoyment of working in the classroom.

“I enjoy interacting with students, particularly with the energy they bring to class,” Pharr said. “It is fun to hear students ask questions and come up with new solutions from perspectives that I have not considered before. It's also very rewarding when students come to that "aha moment" through lectures and discussion.”

This award is given to only one tenure-track assistant professor from each college annually. Along with the title of being a Montague-CTE scholar, he will receive a grant to continue making positive impacts in the classroom.

“I am honored to receive this award,” said Pharr. “It will provide me the opportunity to continue to develop augmented and virtual reality learning modules with a goal of enhancing student engagement and understanding course content to greater depths.”

Pharr’s teaching philosophy centers around fundamental principles. By teaching students about the larger picture, he can educate them on solving real-world issues. Based on his personal experiences as a student, a critical part of this is assigning projects that accentuate mechanical engineering’s key principles and perpetuate student involvement.

“I implement approaches that I personally found effective as a student, encouraging creative thinking and cultivating an enjoyable learning environment,” Pharr said. “To that end, I like to keep students engaged, by asking questions frequently during lectures, doing demonstrations, showing videos, having students work through example problems with their neighbors, etc.”

The Montague-CTE Scholars Award adds to his list of accolades that include the Peggy L. and Charles Brittan ’65 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2019 and the Center for Teaching Excellence - Texas A&M Student Success Faculty Fellows Grant Program in 2017.