Faller, Soh among UNL faculty awarded professorships by Office of Executive Vice Chancellor

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Ronald Faller (left), Willa Cather research professor at Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, and Leen-Kiat Soh, Charles Bessey professor in the School of Computing.
Ronald Faller (left), Willa Cather research professor at Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, and Leen-Kiat Soh, Charles Bessey professor in the School of Computing.


Two faculty from the College of Engineering - Ronald Faller and Leen-Kiat Soh - were chosen as Willa Cather/Charles Bessey professors by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor (OEVC). They are among six UNL faculty who were awarded named professorships by the OEVC.

Faller will be Willa Cather research professor in the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, where he is the director and conducts research on a variety of safety measures, including roadside barriers, to ensure occupant safety when vehicles are involved in crashes. He has led the development of many devices that have become U.S. standards, saving numerous lives and preventing countless injuries.

Faller and his team receive external research funding averaging more than $5 million per year. Their findings are published in prestigious journals and they have received Best Paper awards 13 times. Most recently, MwRSF received the Breakthrough Innovation of the Year award from NUtech Ventures for its Delta Crash Cushion. He also helped to develop the first national "Transportation Pooled Fund" program, in which state Departments of Transportation collectively combined research funding together to address challenging problems in safety. 

Also a research professor in civil and environmental engineering, Faller holds 14 patents, chaired the first International Roadside Safety Conference within the Transportation Research Board, and has received the prestigious Kenneth A. Stonex Roadside Safety Award.

Soh will be Charles Bessey professor in the School of Computing. Soh conducts research on multiagent systems, intelligent data analytics, and computer science education with a focus on improving teaching and learning, supporting online collaboration, and facilitating adaptive decision making. He also models smart grids, human learning, and social unrest to explore emergent behaviors through computational simulations.

Soh has published more than 200 peer-reviewed technical papers. While at the university, Soh has secured over $20 million in external funding as principal or co-principal investigator. Soh's work in CS education has contributed to fundamental research, courseware development, professional training, education, instruction and outreach in the discipline.

Key findings include identifying learner profiles and performance in post-secondary CS courses and establishing computational creativity as an effective intervention to improve student learning in CS courses for majors and non-majors. Additional outcomes include the development of new courses for teachers teaching CS and training of STEM teachers to improve their programming skills, directly impacting more than 100 K-12 teachers across Nebraska

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