Brian Self is a Good Fellow

Brian Self with Students
Professor Brian Self oversees ME students as they use a model Daimler semi-truck and trailer that is being used in autonomous driving research.

Brian Self, an advocate of evidence-based teaching practices whose classic dynamics textbook is used by students nationwide, was recently named a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

The ASEE, dedicated to the professional needs of engineering educators across all disciplines, says fellows are chosen by its board of directors for outstanding and extraordinary qualifications and experience in engineering or engineering technology education. Fellows raise and deliberate key issues regarding engineering education and formulate position papers, sometimes proposing courses of action for the ASEE board. Self, a mechanical engineering professor, said he has benefited much from his ASEE membership.

“In my early career, presentations at ASEE gave me a number of great ideas to improve my teaching,” he said. 

Shortly after arriving at Cal Poly in 2006, he was asked to be part of a collaborative grant because of his contacts forged through the organization.

“That grant developed a number of project-based learning assignments in mechanical engineering,” he said. 

“Our team also hired more than a dozen undergraduate students over the years and had them present at ASEE conferences.”

It was through his relationship with ASEE that he was asked to co-author a book, “Vector Mechanics for Engineers” (McGraw-Hill), which is used in classrooms nationwide and recently celebrated its 12th edition.

Self previously worked in the Air Force Research Laboratories before teaching at the U.S. Air Force Academy for seven years. He has also taught at the Munich University of Applied Sciences and the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences. In addition to being an ASEE member, he served as a board member from 2008-’10. The organization, he said, has provided an education as well.

“Through ASEE, I have learned a lot about evidence-based teaching practices and used it to improve my own teaching and to mentor others,” Self said. “Also, I have become much more aware of issues of inclusivity and diversity and served on the first ASEE Diversity Working Group.”

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