Lorraine Francis holds 3M Chair in Experiential Learning
Lorraine Francis examines a 3-D printed model in CSE’s Anderson Innovation Labs. Students use 3-D printing for prototyping aluminum or steel parts.
Professor Lorraine Francis is passionate about educating tomorrow's science and engineering professionals. After 26 years as an award-winning educator, and her work in undergraduate learning initiatives in the College of Science and Engineering (CSE), being named to the 3M Chair in Experiential Learning was a natural next step for Francis. “We’re grateful for 3M’s support in helping us build on what we’ve learned and accomplished thus far,” she says. Francis is a faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.
3M Chair enhances learning
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, Francis helps to develop and direct experiential learning opportunities for undergrads that teach the fundamentals of open-ended problem solving, teamwork, ethics, innovation, active learning, and design. She also builds strong working relationships with CSE faculty and staff who work with undergraduates. In spring 2017, she launched a project-based learning course with 3-D printing for CSE freshmen. Professor Francis and her colleagues taught sections of 24–29 freshmen about computer-aided design, 3-D printing, and design.
"Tireless advocate" and award-winning faculty member
“Lorraine is a tireless advocate for our college’s First-Year Experience class for all first-semester freshmen in the college,” says Paul Strykowski, associate dean for undergraduate programs. “Lorraine has examined the importance of both project-based learning and non-technical content, such as major/career exploration, time management and study skills, and engagement outside the classroom.”
Francis has won awards for her teaching and research, including the prestigious Horace T. Morse University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education (2014). She teaches a wide variety of courses, including Materials Performance and Materials Processing, and her research focuses on the materials science of coating and printing processes.
Photo: Steve Niedorf