Three Florida Institute of Technology faculty members recently earned the university’s 2011 Faculty Excellence Awards for outstanding performance. They were J. Clayton Baum, professor of chemistry, the Andrew W. Revay Jr. Award for Excellence in Service; Marcus Hohlmann, associate professor of physics and space sciences, the Award for Excellence in Research; and James Brenner, assistant professor of chemical engineering, the Kerry Bruce Clark Award for Excellence in Teaching.
At Florida Tech since 1979, Baum has received the Florida Tech Presidential Award for University Excellence four times for his contributions to the university. In addition to his role as faculty adviser for the Student Government Association for more than 25 years, he has chaired the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, was the first chair of the Library Committee, and was elected president of the Faculty Senate. He currently is on four university committees and has been a member of more than 25 different committees. In recognition for his role as a teacher and mentor to students, Florida Tech alumni, students and friends established the endowed J. Clayton Baum Chemistry Award, given annually to outstanding chemistry majors.
Since coming to Florida Tech, Hohlmann has received more than $1-1/2 million in research funding, including grants from the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security. He works in elementary particle physics at the Compact Muon Solenoid, one of the large international experiments at the CERN (European Organization for Particle Research) Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. He has also earned funding for his research on muon tomography. This research seeks to detect threatening nuclear materials in cargo even if heavily shielded by everyday materials, such as steel or lead.
Brenner, past president of the Florida Tech Faculty Senate and assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, teaches a variety of courses. These include Materials Science and Engineering, Materials Lab, Introduction to Chemical Engineering I and II, Nanotechnology, and Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering. His teaching evaluations are consistently at the top in his department.
Despite a demanding teaching schedule he won a National Science Foundation award to develop novel Nanotechnology Lab II and Materials Characterization Laboratory courses, which were offered for the first time in 2010. His research interests include self-assembly of nanomaterials, and hydrogen storage, purification, and sensing—three technologies that will make hydrogen fuel cell engines possible.