17:50 PM

Taryn Bayles Honored With ASEE Donald R. Woods Lectureship for Lifetime Achievement in Chemical Engineering Pedagogy

Taryn Bales

In recognition of her vast and lasting contributions to engineering education, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Chemical Engineering Division has awarded Taryn Bayles, vice chair for undergraduate education and professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, with the Donald R. Woods Lectureship for Lifetime Achievement in Chemical Engineering Pedagogy. 

The lectureship is named for Donald R. Woods, Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering at McMaster University, and recognizes the outstanding achievement of an individual through improvements of lasting influence to chemical engineering education. It is presented to a distinguished engineering educator to recognize a sustained career of contributions to pedagogical practice, scholarship and mentoring in chemical engineering. The award honors careers that have driven innovative and substantial change in pedagogical theory and in the classroom, and inspired other educators to do the same.

As part of the lectureship, Bayles was invited to give a keynote presentation at the ASEE Conference on July 29, 2021. Bayles’s address focused on the lessons learned from the many outreach and student success programs that she has developed and run throughout her career. She highlighted the importance of developing student skills through hands-on engineering design projects, developing teaching and learning strategies for student engagement, and building community.

Bayles’s daughter, Alexandra V. Bayles, who is a postdoctoral fellow at ETH Zürich, wrote a letter in support of her mother’s nomination.

“I’ve thought a lot about what my mother has accomplished over a lifetime, about how I can reverse engineer her results to maximize the impact of my own career,” she wrote. “What consistently differentiates her from all other academics I know is her instinct to nurture an engineering mindset within every person she meets.”

Taryn Bayles’ research primarily focuses on engineering pedagogy, with the aim of making science and engineering more engaging and accessible for students from kindergarten through college. She has taught 7,200 instructors through more than 150 workshops how to introduce students to engineering principles. Her hands-on engineering design projects have impacted more than 15,000 participating students. As part of her chemical engineering classes, over 1,000 undergraduates have shared their knowledge with the local community through hands-on outreach activities, reaching more than 10,000 students. 

“We are so proud that Taryn Bayles is a part of the Swanson School of Engineering; she is a national leader and pioneer in engineering education,” said Steven Little, William Kepler Whiteford Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. “Her outreach efforts have impacted thousands of students and educators, and her work will continue to benefit the field of engineering education for years to come.”


Taryn Melkus Bayles is a distinguished engineering educator with more than 25 years of teaching experience. Taryn has demonstrated sustained excellence (and over $7M NSF funding) in teaching undergraduate courses, developing and disseminating engineering outreach and engineering design programs for her undergraduate students, K12 students and teachers, and serving her home departments. She has also served the chemical engineering education community, most notably as the first female Chair of the AIChE Education Division in 2016 and 2017. She has earned previous awards for teaching, mentoring, service, and outreach, which demonstrates her merits for this lifetime achievement lectureship. Finally, Taryn has advocated vigorously for teaching track positions as a rewarding and robust career. She is the first teaching track faculty member to receive this award in it's 58-year history.