2012 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards
Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering
Can Saygin is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at UTSA. His exceptional approach to teaching and his methodologies used in the classroom have earned him the admiration of students. His evaluation scores have consistently put him in the top categories for excellence in teaching and course quality.
Saygin’s teaching philosophy is one that inspires his students to become life-long learners. As an educator, he sees himself as a facilitator, whose primary responsibility is to create a stimulating atmosphere in which learning, rather than teaching, takes place naturally, and students mature intellectually. Although he wants his students to understand the materials in the classroom, he also wants them to walk away with questions that go beyond the concepts covered. By fostering an environment of research and discovery, Saygin is able to set the groundwork for continued education.
“After all,” Saygin says, “learning to learn is the ultimate skill my students are expected to have as knowledge workers in the information economy.”
He understands that teaching requires versatility. Some students learn through sequential lectures, while others thrive in hands-on experiments. In all cases, he models his curriculum to engage the various methods of understanding.
According to one of his students, “Dr. Saygin addresses students’ multiple learning styles in many ways. Presenting information as open-ended questions, rather than long lectures, enables a higher level of learning to take place and allows interpersonal learners an opportunity to get involved.”
When he isn’t in the classroom teaching, Saygin is also the director of the Interactive Technology Experience Center (iTEC) and is actively involved in the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Lean Systems (CAMLS) as well as the Society of Automotive Engineers.
Story and photo by Tim Luukkonen