Panerai receives Everitt Award for Undergraduate Teaching


Debra Levey Larson

Francesco Panerai
Francesco Panerai

Assistant Professor Francesco Panerai in the Department of Aerospace Engineering is the 2022 recipient of The Grainger College of Engineering Everitt Award for Undergraduate Teaching.

Since joining the faculty in 2019, Panerai has taught three courses with substantial undergraduate enrollment and is well known for his contagious energy and enthusiasm.

Emeritus Professor J. Craig Dutton served as Panerai’s part-time mentor and nominated him for the award. He said about Panerai, “Early in his career he has demonstrated a remarkable ability to teach both large required and smaller elective undergraduate courses with the highest quality and to the exceptional satisfaction of his students. Clearly, he is a remarkable ‘natural’ teacher.”

Dutton was impressed with how well organized and clear Panerai’s course materials are and that the material is presented at a challenging, but reasonable level that holds the students’ interest.  

“He has been able to leverage his several years of post-doctoral experience at the Von Karman Institute in Belgium and NASA-Ames Research Center in developing interesting examples and problems from current-day aero-systems that the students are familiar with,” Dutton said. “At numerous places in the lecture notes, homework, and project assignments, Francesco has inserted photos, sketches, and videos of these past and current systems, as well as historical anecdotes, which significantly enhance student motivation and interest.”

Dutton said Panerai’s teaching style is a mixture of presentation of lecture material, working example problems on his iPad, class discussion, and question-and-answer periods.

“The students seem to appreciate the variety of presentation methods during a given class, and especially like the working of the example problems, most likely because of the direction and help that they give with the homework,” Dutton said. “It is clear that his interactions with students are truly directed at how best to communicate complex material, and that he deeply cares about his students and their personal and academic progress.”