Richard M. Felder (born 1939 in New York City) is the Hoechst Celanese Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University. With Ronald Rousseau and Lisa Bullard, he is coauthor of Elementary Principles of Chemical Processes (4th Edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2015), a widely-used text for the introductory chemical engineering course, and with Rebecca Brent, he is coauthor of Teaching and Learning STEM: A Practical Guide (Jossey-Bass, 2016), a guidebook for instructors of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses. He has authored or coauthored over 300 papers on chemical process engineering and engineering and science education. Most of his publications and resources he has developed for instructors and students can be found on his website Resources in Science and Engineering Education.
Education and career history
Felder received a BChE degree from the City College of New York in 1962 and a PhD in chemical engineering from Princeton University in 1966. He spent a year as a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment (Harwell, England) and then two years as a research engineer at Brookhaven National Laboratory.In 1969 he joined the chemical engineering faculty at North Carolina State University, and he retired to emeritus status in 1999. He spent sabbatical semesters at the University of Colorado (1982), Georgia Tech (1990), the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (2003), and Smith College (2006).
For roughly the first half of his career, Felder carried out research on a variety of topics, starting with his doctoral and postdoctoral research on energy distributions of energetic atoms in irradiated media, progressing through mathematical modeling of mixing and diffusion in chemical reactors, fluidized bed gasification of coal, and diffusion of gases and vapors in polymer membranes, and concluding with stochastic modeling of specialty chemicals manufacturing processes. His technical publications are listed on his website.
Introductory chemical engineering textbook
Felder coauthored Elementary Principles of Chemical Processes with Dr. Ronald W. Rousseau and (in the fourth edition) Dr. Lisa G. Bullard. The book first appeared in 1978 and became the standard textbook for the introductory chemical engineering course in the United States. It has been adopted by more than 90% of all U.S. chemical engineering departments and at many institutions abroad in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Korean editions.
Research and writing on teaching and learning
Beginning in the late 1980s, Felder shifted his career focus from disciplinary engineering research to education, including educational research. Besides his book Teaching and Learning STEM: A Practical Guide, he has authored or coauthored two book chapters and over 200 education related articles and over 100 Random Thoughts columns in the quarterly journal Chemical Engineering Education. His research and publications deal with many aspects of teaching and learning, with his primary emphasis being on student-centered instructional methods including active learning (involving students in course-relevant activities during classes rather than relying entirely on lecturing as the medium of instruction) and cooperative learning (getting students to complete assignments and projects in teams under conditions that include holding all team members individually accountable for all of the work done). For Dr. Felder's teaching philosophy, see "An Interview with Richard M. Felder", which appeared in the Journal of Science Education, (2002), vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 62–65.
Felder has given over 300 education-related seminars and—with his wife and colleague, Dr. Rebecca Brent—over 300 teaching workshops on campuses throughout the United States and abroad. He is the co-founder (with Dr. James Stice) of the National Effective Teaching Institute sponsored by the American Society for Engineering Education, and co-directed it from 1991 through 2015. The NETI has been given every year since its inaugural offering, reaching over 1000 participants from more than 200 universities and colleges.
Index of Learning Styles
Felder co-developed and validated an on-line instrument called the Index of Learning Styles that assesses students' preferences on four dimensions of a learning styles model he had previously co-developed with Dr. Linda K. Silverman. The instrument is accessed by close to a million users every year.
- Lifetime Achievement Award in Engineering Education (American Society for Engineering Education, 2012, first recipient)
- Global Award for Excellence in Engineering Education (Intl. Federation of Engr. Education Societies, 2010, first recipient)
- Distinguished Service Award (ASEE Engineering Research and Methods Division, 2009)
- Doctor of Engineering Honoris Causa (University of Illinois, 2010)
- Doctor of Science Honoris Causa (State University of New York, 2008)
- One of "30 Authors of Groundbreaking Chemical Engineering Books" (AIChE, 2008)
- Joseph J. Martin Award for the Outstanding Paper at the ASEE Annual Meeting (ASEE ChE Division, 2007)
- Lifetime Achievement Award for Pedagogical Scholarship (ASEE ChE Division, 2003)
- Warren K. Lewis Award for Contributions to Chemical Engineering Education (AIChE, 2002)
- Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal of Excellence (N.C. State University, 1999)
- Chester F. Carlson Award for Innovation in Engineering Education (ASEE, 1998)
- Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence (University of North Carolina, 1997)
- Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE, 1996)
- William E. Wickenden Award for Outstanding Paper in the Journal of Engineering Education (ASEE, 2003, 1996, 1989, 1988)
- Outstanding Educator of the Century Award (1 of 5 designated) (Southeastern Section, ASEE, 1993)
- William H. Corcoran Award for Outstanding Paper in Chemical Engineering Education (ASEE, 1993, 1985)
- AIChE Institute Lectureship (AIChE, 1991)
- National Catalyst Award (Chemical Manufacturers Association, 1989)
- Benjamin J. Dasher Award for Outstanding Paper at the Frontiers in Education Conference (IEEE/ASEE, 1989)
- AT&T Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence (ASEE, 1985)
- R.J. Reynolds Industries Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research, and Extension (NCSU, 1982)
- Outstanding Teacher Award (N.C. State University, 1978, 1981)