Munson honored with national award

In his last week at the helm of Michigan Engineering, Dean David Munson wins a national award.

He has been an inspiring dean, teacher, researcher, textbook author and champion of engineering education, to name a few of his accomplishments.

Now in his last week as the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, David Munson has been honored with a national award.

Munson receives the Benjamin Garver Lamme Award from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) at a ceremony on June 27 in New Orleans during the organization’s annual conference. The award is one of 15 given to selected scholars who “exemplify the best in engineering education.”

“I was truly honored to learn that I had been selected to receive the Lamme award. But, there are many others at the University of Michigan who share this award with me,” Munson said. “We have worked very hard over the past decade to build magnificent experiential learning programs for our students, including in entrepreneurship, multidisciplinary design, international studies, and undergraduate research. Many students are now coming to Michigan Engineering specifically to take advantage of these opportunities.”

In addition to these programs for students, Munson has encouraged faculty scholarship in engineering education. At the ASEE annual conference, where the award is being conferred, there are 37 presentations by more than 50 University of Michigan coauthors, Munson points out.

He’s been a promoter of engineering education throughout his career. He is coauthor of a textbook on the digital world that’s used in about 400 high schools nationwide to introduce students to engineering. He is an award winning teacher and researcher. Munson’s work in signal and image processing is highly-regarded. He is particularly well known for his research on synthetic aperture radar, which is used for high-resolution imaging by the earth resources and surveillance communities.

“Dave Munson has been a visionary leader for engineering research and education. The programs he started, entrepreneurship and international education, have been a model that others followed. I congratulate Dave for this great honor,” said Jack Hu, U-M vice president for research who formerly worked with Munson as Michigan Engineering associate dean for academic affairs. Hu played a role in Munson’s nomination.

Munson has been dean since 2006. Previously, he served as chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Before coming to U-M, he was the Robert C. MacClinchie Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

At Michigan Engineering, Munson established himself quickly as “a different kind of engineering dean,” said James Holloway, U-M vice provost for global and engaged education who formerly worked with Munson as associate dean for undergraduate education at Michigan Engineering. Holloway was also involved in the nomination.

“Dave Munson was concerned to support his college for its important research mission, of course, but also deeply interested in challenging students to become more creative, more broadly educated, and more engaged with the world as caring and contributing citizens,” Holloway said. “He displayed a farsighted insistence that all engineering students should experience serious project work, or engage in entrepreneurial pursuits, or learn from experiences abroad, or even all three at once!”

Munson’s second term as dean ends July 1.

“It’s been a privilege to work with Dave Munson and to know him these past 10 years. This award is a fitting cap on his remarkable tenure at the helm of Michigan Engineering,” said Professor Alec Gallimore, who will succeed Munson as the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering. Gallimore currently serves as the associate dean for academic affairs.

Read more about his tenure in Set in Motion: How Munson’s leadership propelled Michigan.