University Programs

Educator Awards

AISC Educator Awards honor individuals who have contributed to the success of the fabricated structural steel industry through their research, teaching or a lifetime of outstanding service.

Nominations for the 2019 AISC Educator Awards are due September 1, 2018.

Geerhard Haaijer Award for Excellence in Education

The Geerhard Haaijer Award is named for one of AISC’s most respected Vice Presidents for Technology and Research. It is given only to individuals who, through their teaching and research, have had a profound and lasting impact on the structural steel construction industry.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals who have made a difference in AISC’s and the structural steel industry’s success.  It provides special recognition to individuals who have provided outstanding service over a sustained period of years to AISC and the structural steel academic community.

Special Achievement Award

The Special Achievement Award provides special recognition to individuals who demonstrated notable singular or multiple achievements in structural steel education.  This award honors living individuals who have made a positive and substantial impact on the structural steel design and construction industry through one or more particular projects.

Early Career Faculty Awards

The Early Career Faculty Award provides recognition to tenure track faculty who demonstrate promise in the areas of structural steel research, teaching and other contributions to the structural steel industry.

The 2019 Educator Awards will be presented on April 3 at the 2019 NASCC: The Steel Conference in St. Louis, MO.


2018 Educator Award Winners

Geerhard Haaijer Award for Excellence in Education

Bruce Ellingwood, PE, PhD, NAE, F.SEI, Dist M.ASCE, Professor Emeritus, Colorado State University

Dr. Ellingwood  is the recipient of the Geerhard Haaijer Award. Internationally recognized as an authority on structural load modeling, reliability and risk analysis of engineered facilities, Ellingwood is a prominent leader in the technical development and implementation of probability-based codified design standards for building structures. His research and professional activities involve the application of probability and statistics to structural engineering, particularly in structural reliability theory and probabilistic risk assessment. He directed the development of the general probability-based load criteria for limit states design that have appeared in successive editions of the ASCE/ANSI Standard on Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures since 1982, which are the basis for strength design in the U.S. His work has also been instrumental in the development of the load and resistance factor design methodology used in AISC specifications that forms the basis for modern steel design.

Lifetime Achievement Awards

Don White, PhD, Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. White has generously served AISC thoughout his career. He’s been a member of the AISC Committee on Specifications since 2008, and has served on AISC Specification Task Committees TC3 – Loads, Analysis and Stability, and TC4 - Member Design since 2002, as well as the AISC Educator Awards Committee. He has also presented many successful webinars on behalf of AISC, and was the long-time faculty advisor to the Georgia Tech student steel bridge team, regularly appearing at the National Student Steel Bridge Competition (NSSBC). His research covers a broad area of design and behavior of steel and composite steel/concrete structures as well as computational mechanics, methods of nonlinear analysis and applications to design.

Thomas Sabol, SE, PHD, principal, Englekirk, and adjunct professor, UCLA

Dr. Sabol has provided exceptional service and contributions over many years to AISC, the structural steel industry and the structural engineering profession. His sustained contributions have made a major impact on advancing the practice in seismic-resistant design of structural steel buildings, as well as advancing AISC standards and the use of structural steel. He has been responsible for the structural design of numerous mid- and high-rise buildings, institutional and educational structures and a wide range of other projects. He is also an adjunct professor at UCLA, where he has taught classes in structural and earthquake engineering for many years. He is a leader in the field of structural earthquake engineering, with a strong focus on seismic-resistant design of structural steel buildings. He was an active participant in the SAC-FEMA steel moment frame project after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and served as a lead guideline writer for this project. He has also collaborated with a number of university faculty on research related to seismic performance of steel buildings. In addition, he has served on various AISC committees for more than 20 years and has contributed extensively to AISC continuing education programs.

Special Achievement Awards

Keh-Chyuan Tsai, SE, PhD, Professor, National Taiwan University

Dr. Tsai is being recognized for his extensive work with U.S. researchers to conduct large-scale system level testing of structural steel seismic force resisting systems, leading to system level verification of many of the AISC 341 provisions.

Early Career Faculty Awards

William N. Collins, PE, PhD, assistant professor, University of Kansas

Dr. Collins has been successful in the multifaceted roles of his position as assistant professor. His excellent teaching record, successful research portfolio and impactful professional service activities indicate that he will have a long and successful career as a professor and will continue to contribute to the structural steel industry through numerous avenues. All of the classes he has taught at KU are directly related to structural steel. These include undergraduate steel design, graduate steel building design and graduate fracture mechanics. In addition to teaching, he has created a variety of learning opportunities for students outside of the classroom. In the past three years he has taken more than 150 students to SteelDay events around Kansas and Missouri, which gives students a first-hand view of the structural steel industry and has even led to employment opportunities for KU graduates. In addition, he is working on a variety of projects with the potential to influence the structural steel industry. As principal investigator he is leading two major steel bridge related projects. The first is an NCHRP project examining the fracture toughness of heat-affected zones in welded steel bridges. The second is an exploration into the use of digital image correlation (DIC) to identify fatigue cracks as part of an automated inspection process. Collins is also contributing to this important area of research as a collaborator on a FHWA Pooled Fund project using elastomeric skin sensors to identify fatigue crack initiation on steel bridges without the need for human inspectors. He also serves as a member of two Transportation Research Board (TRB) committees, and is an active member of ASTM International committees related to fracture mechanics and impact testing of metals.

Ashley P. Thrall, PhD, Myron and Rosemary Noble associate professor of structural engineering, University of Notre Dame

Dr. Thrall is an innovative and dynamic researcher and teacher in the structural engineering group of the University of Notre Dame. She has a unique perspective that started early in her career studying historical structures and developing an understanding of their design. She went on to develop a deep mechanics-based analysis expertise which has blossomed into building the leading laboratory in the country focused solely on civil kinetic structures. The problems and methods she has tackled have been widely varied but always focus on out-of-the-box innovative design, incorporate the most advanced analysis, rapid prototyping and testing methods, and bring communities together whether in Europe or the U.S., integrating industry, consulting and academia. Her steel-focused work includes accelerated construction of steel bridges through adjustable connections and modular design, impacting both fabrication and erection costs and setting a firm theoretical framework to a very practical problem. Her digital image correlation methods applied to laser etched steel are revolutionary. She will be monitoring the steel girders of the new Tappan Zee Bridge using the digital image correlation methodologies. Her innovation and creativity are widely recognized and as a result her laboratory is very well funded through a diverse range of federal and state agencies, something that is extremely difficult to do in her area. Thrall has also been as innovative mentoring students in her laboratory and teaching classes as she has been in her research. She arms the students in her statics, steel and bridge classes with the ability to solve challenging and real world problems, as well as provides high school and graduate students exposure to the many and diverse aspects of her discipline through a wide range of opportunities, from field trips to lectures.