Preston Durrill receives William E. Wine Award for Teaching Excellence
Preston Durrill, undergraduate advisor and adjunct professor for the Department of Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering and adjunct professor in the Department of Chemistry for the College of Science, has received the university’s 2016 William E. Wine Award.
The William E. Wine Award was established in 1957 by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association in memory of William E. Wine, Class of 1904, who was a former rector of the Board of Visitors and Alumni Association president. Following a college-level selection process of candidates nominated by students, faculty, and alumni, each college may put forth one nominee. From this group, three faculty members are selected annually. Each Wine Award winner receives $2,000 and automatic induction into the Academy of Teaching Excellence.
Durrill has taught ChE 4014 Chemical Engineering Unit Operation Laboratory, a six-week summer laboratory experience for graduating seniors since 1983. Along with the course, Durrill also trains eight graduate students how to serve as laboratory instructors.
In 2004, he took on even more responsibility within the Department of Chemical Engineering by teaching ChE 2114 Mass and Energy Balances to sophomores and by serving as an undergraduate academic advisor. That same year, Durrill also began teaching Chem 1035 and 1036 General Chemistry I and II to hundreds of freshmen in the Department of Chemistry.
“As demonstrated by the excellent student teaching evaluation scores and by the teaching awards that Professor Durrill has received since 2004, he has done both the College of Engineering and the College of Science a great service by his extraordinary dedication to undergraduate instruction and mentoring,” wrote Y.A. Liu, chair of the chemical engineering honorifics committee, in a letter of nomination.
His teaching philosophy focuses on four main criteria: showing enthusiasm for the material, providing a challenging academic environment, making himself available outside of class times, and encouraging students to use him as a resource for academic and career advice.
Durrill was the recipient of the Faculty Appreciation Day Students’ Choice Award from the Virginia Tech Student Alumni Associates in 2005, 2006, and from 2008-2015. He also received the Sporn Award for Teaching Introductory Subjects twice among other awards.