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Allenby named one of top U.S. professors

November 24, 2008

Two of the most prominent organizations supporting higher education in the nation have selected Arizona State University engineering professor Brad Allenby as one the winners of its 2008 U.S. Professors of the Year Awards.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Higher Education bestows the awards to recognize professors “for their influence on teaching and their commitment to undergraduates.”

“It is amazing how professor Allenby is driven to work with students. He provides curriculum and class experiences that engage, motivate and educate students in a very hands-on way. He is having a profound effect on undergraduate and graduate students,” said Paul Westerhoff, chair of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering.

Allenby is a professor in the department, as well as a professor of law and a professor of engineering and ethics in affiliation with the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics at ASU.

“I’m honored to be recognized by this award,” Allenby said, “but I consider it not so much an individual recognition. I think it speaks to the overall excellence in teaching at the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering and the importance of engineering to our society at this time.”

 Westerhoff noted the depth of understanding that Allenby often instills in students.

“A student who recently took one of his courses told me it was the most influential class he had taken, because it made him think about the big picture regarding the challenges facing the world and how technological solutions play only one role in the complex evolution of societies,” he said.

Students frequently rank courses taught by Allenby among those they find most valuable, Westerhoff noted.

“He elegantly and passionately articulates his philosophy that society must understand the environmental and societal implications of developing technologies, and he does this in an engaging and entertaining way,” Westerhoff said. “He has a unique way of bridging engineers, scientists, policy makers, students and the broader public.”

Allenby engineering classes focus on helping students comprehend the public policy aspects and long-term effects of decisions made about the development and use of technology and public infrastructure. He has been at the forefront of supporting one of ASU’s core missions by developing curriculum and teaching courses to advance the study of sustainability. He is co-director of the Center for Sustainable Engineering, and is developing courses connected to a new Center of Earth Systems Engineering and Management.

Allenby is working with the Phoenix Union High School District to improve efforts to prepare students for entering the university. He also is involved with with  professional engineering organizations in developing new approaches in engineering education that prepare students for the changing requirements in the professional and industrial engineering work place and for the challenges posed by globalization.

Considered one of the pioneers of industrial ecology, Allenby came to ASU in 2004. Previously he was a director of Energy and Environmental Systems at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and a vice president of Research, Technology and Environment for AT&T.

He has been an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a visiting lecturer in ethics at Princeton Theological Seminary.

He graduated cum laude from Yale University in 1972, later earning a law degree from University of Virginia Law School, a master’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in environmental sciences from Rutgers University.

He is on the editorial boards of several science and engineering journals, has authored text book chapters and writes for a number of publications about environmental, technological and sustainability issues.

Allenby is “a catalyzing force within our department and across campus in the area of sustainability education and research,” Westerhoff said. “As one of the modern ‘fathers’ of industrial ecology, with degrees in law and economics and years of high-level experience in industry, he is credible to a wide range of faculty and students.”

The U.S. Professors of the Year program is the only national initiative specifically designed to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring. The 50 winners of the 2008 awards were selected from among nearly 300 nominees.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center with a mission to “encourage, uphold and dignify the profession of the teacher.”

The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education is one of the largest international associations of education institutions, serving more than 3,300 universities, colleges, schools and related organizations in 61 countries.

The U.S. Professors of the Year Awards are sponsored by TIAA-CREF, a national financial services organization and provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.

For more information, visit the Web site  


Brad Allenby,,
(480) 727-8594
professor, Department of Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering

Paul Westerhoff,,
(480) 965-2885
professor and chair, Department of Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering