Emeritus FacultyLloyd Barrett
BiographyLarry G. Richards is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Virginia. He received his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University in 1964, and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1971 - both in Psychology. He came to UVA in 1969, joined the School of Engineering and Applied Science in 1976, and moved to MAE in 1985 to develop and administer the Manufacturing Systems Engineering Program. He served as Director of the MSE Program from 1986 to 2002, and Director of the A. H. Small Center for Computer Aided Engineering from 1992 to 2002. For the past ten years, Larry has brought Engineering Teaching Kits (ETKs) into middle school science and math classes through the Virginia Middle School Engineering Education Initiative. These ETKs introduce the engineering design approach to problem solving, and teach key science and math concepts using guided inquiry. ETKs have been developed on over 50 topics, including submersible vehicles, solar cars, heat transfer, building bridges, catapults and projectile motion, water filtration systems, electricity and magnetism, crash testing and passenger protection, aerospace engineering, sustainable house design, simple machines, and brain surgery. Teams of undergraduate students design and implement the ETKs, and field-test them in local schools. This project has been funded by the Payne Family Foundation and the National Science Foundation (NSF-EEC-0230609). Recently Larry has been working with middle schools near the new Rolls Royce Crosspointe manufacturing facility and helping teachers bring engineering into their classes. Larry teaches courses on Creativity and New Product Development, Invention and Design, and graduate Probability and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists. He regularly offers courses via distance education through the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program (CGEP). With funding from Micron Corporation, he developed an asynchronous on-line version of the statistics course, and it has been well received by both on- and off-grounds students. Larry is active in the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) and Frontiers in Education (FIE). He is past Chair of the Educational Research and Methods (ERM) Division of ASEE, and has been on the Advisory Board for the K - 12 Engineering Education and Outreach Division. He is also active in the Entrepreneurship Division of ASEE and the National Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), and serves as the University of Virginia ASEE Campus Representative. Larry was General Chair for FIE 2010 – the 40th Anniversary Frontiers in Education conference - held in Arlington Virginia in October 2010. He is a Fellow of ASEE. Honors and Awards (since 2000) Ronald Schmitz Award for Outstanding Service to the ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, November 2003 Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program (CGEP) Instructor of the Year, 2003 - 2004. http://cgep.virginia.edu/InstructorofYear.html ASEE/ERM Distinguished Service Award, 2004: “For outstanding contributions to the education of the future engineers and their educators” Virginia Piedmont Technology Council and Charlottesville Venture Group Special Judges’ Award for Achievement in Technology in Education June 2007 Fellow, American Society for Engineering Education, June 2011 ASEE Outstanding Campus Representative SE Section, April 2012 ASEE Outstanding Campus Representative Zone II June 2012
Research InterestsDr. Richards' current scholarly interests include engineering entrepreneurship, creativity and new product development, the engineering design process, and the role of technology in design. He also studies innovative methods to improve engineering education, including active and cooperative learning, case methods, computer based techniques, and distance and on-line learning. Recently he has been investigating how K - 12 students learn about engineering.