Tim Bretl named Severns Faculty Scholar


The Grainger College of Engineering has named ITI researcher Tim Bretl as a Severns Faculty Scholar for his contribution to engineering education. It is among the first named positions within the college to honor specialized faculty, in this case, teaching professors who focus on classroom teaching, curriculum, and educational programs.

Bretl is an associate professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and the associate head of undergraduate programs for the department. He is responsible for reimagining the AE 353 course to make it more enjoyable and more practical for aerospace students. Bretl also created AE 483 to better expose AE students to hands-on aerospace controls.

He is also heavily involved in educational initiatives with the college’s Academy for Excellence in Engineering Education, including being a founder and developer of the computer-based teaching programs PrairieLearn. He has won multiple national, campus, and college awards.

His passion for education extends beyond the university. Bretl is a volunteer instructor at the Danville Correctional Center and as spokesperson on our campus for the Education Justice Project.

The William H. Severns Faculty Scholar recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated “significant and sustained impact on the development of new and effective teaching techniques, broadening the educational experience of engineering students, and/or motivating the education of engineering students through bringing practical, real-world experiences into the classroom.” It is named after late mechanical engineering professor William H. Severns. 

Bretl is also affiliated with the Coordinated Science Laboratory.