Cindy Finelli receives Trudy Huebner Service Excellence Award

Finelli has provided leadership and vision in the area of engineering education for over 20 years and was responsible for establishing and building the Engineering Education Research graduate program.
Cynthia Finelli

Prof. Cindy Finelli has received the Trudy Huebner Service Excellence Award from the College of Engineering for her decades of leadership and vision in the area of engineering education and her commitment to serving the academic community.

Finelli’s research investigates student learning, faculty teaching, and the relationships between them. She established the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering (CRLTE) at the University of Michigan, as well as the Engineering Education Research (EER) program, for which she still serves as director. EER has grown to feature eight core faculty, a community of graduate students, and a growing contingent of affiliated faculty across the college and university.

Finelli’s current research involves faculty adoption of evidence-based teaching practices known to promote student learning, engagement, and success in engineering. She helped design several flexible classrooms in CoE, conducting research about their impact on faculty teaching practices and student behavior, and she created professional development materials to support instructors using the classrooms. She also is engaged in research to study the academic success of engineering college students who have neurodiversities (e.g., Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Dyslexia) and to help prepare engineering graduate students to be mindful of ways in which complex technologies can impact society and to intervening when ethical issues arise.

She currently leads a multi-institutional collaborative project that addresses student resistance to active learning. She identified concrete strategies instructors can use in the classroom to lower student resistance, and she designed a research-based workshop to equip instructors to adopt active learning and to implement the proven strategies to reduce resistance.

Finelli has also been a strong advocate for DEI in engineering. She has served on both the ECE Committee for an Inclusive Department and the CoE Faculty Race and Equity Training Steering Committee. Notably, since 2020, in response to calls for social justice around the country and internationally, Finelli helped establish a virtual seminar series to bring top scholars to U-M to present on research about the experiences of students who are BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) in engineering that educated attendees from many EER programs across the nation.

Finelli received her doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering: Systems from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1993. She has received several best paper awards, and numerous professional honors and awards, including a Premier Award for Engineering Education Courseware. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), and she is past Deputy Editor for Journal of Engineering Education.