Professor Lorraine Francis named 3M Chair in Experiential Learning

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (09/12/16) — The University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering (CSE) announced that Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Professor Lorraine Francis has been named the 3M Chair in Experiential Learning.

Funded by the 3M Foundation, the 3M Chair was created to enhance the undergraduate experience for all CSE students, improve retention rates and better prepare students for entering the workforce after graduation.

In her part-time role as 3M Chair in Experiential Learning, Francis will develop and direct experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate students that teach the fundamentals of open-ended problem solving, teamwork, ethics, innovation, active learning and design. Francis will also establish strong working relationships with the faculty in each department, beginning with the directors of undergraduate studies.

“Lorraine is a tireless advocate for our college’s First-Year Experience class for all first semester freshmen in the college,” said Paul Strykowski, associate dean for undergraduate programs. “As a member of the college’s Taylor Committee, Lorraine examined the importance of both project-based learning and non-technical content, such as major/career exploration, time management/study skills, and engagement outside the classroom, in the freshman course.  She will be great at engaging CSE faculty in many areas of hands-on learning and entrepreneurship to improve the experience for our undergraduate students.”

Francis has been a faculty member at the University of Minnesota since 1990. She teaches a wide variety of courses including Materials Performance and Materials Processing. Her research focuses on the materials science of coating and printing processes with an emphasis on understanding processing - structure relationships. She engages with industry on research through the University of Minnesota Industrial Partnership for Research in Interfacial and Materials Engineering (IPRIME), and serves as deputy director of the University of Minnesota Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).

She has won awards for her teaching and research including the John A. Tallmadge Award for Contributions to Coating Technology (2014) and Horace T. Morse University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education (2014).

In addition, Francis has served in several outreach and service capacities at the University, including being a member of the CSE Student Shops Committee, presenting about 3D-printing to high school and alumni groups, and serving as part of the college’s Taylor Committee on undergraduate education.

Francis received her B.S. degree in ceramic engineering from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1985, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in ceramic engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1987 and 1990 respectively.