Dr. Joachim Walther, an associate professor in the University of Georgia College of Engineering, received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2016. Walther's research, which focuses on how to improve the quality of qualitative research in engineering education, has been an instrumental part of his efforts to build an innovative, collaborative and highly interdisciplinary research program.
Walther and close collaborator Nicola Sochacka, a research professional and instructor in the UGA College of Engineering, have traveled across the nation and abroad to facilitate workshops based on their framework for qualitative research quality. He is also collaborating with Shari Miller, an associate dean in the UGA School of Social Work, to explore how explicit training in empathic communication impacts engineering students’ professional formation and their preparation for addressing complex 21st century challenges.
“I feel extremely honored and grateful to receive such a high distinction for my work,” said Walther. “The PECASE award is a tremendous affirmation for my engineering education research work, its contribution to and potential for the UGA College of Engineering and also the outstanding work conducted by my amazing colleagues in the field.”