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Professor named outstanding Tau Beta Pi advisor

Dr. Robert W. Ward, associate professor of civil engineering at Ohio Northern University and chief advisor to the Ohio Iota Chapter of the engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi, is the 2011 Tau Beta Pi National Outstanding Advisor.
He will be honored on Oct. 29, 2011, at the organization’s annual convention in Indianapolis, Ind. Tau Beta Pi President Dr. Larry A. Simonson, P.E., will present $1,000 and a commemorative plaque to Ward. Another $1,000 grant will be presented to the Ohio Northern University College of Engineering discretionary fund.
Ward was cited in his nomination for striving to enhance the association each year, encouraging every member to participate in events, and offering opportunities to build character through volunteer support of the community and school.
“I have heard that to be a good leader you should surround yourself with great people, and our engineering students have taken on the leadership of our chapter and kept it in the top echelon of all Tau Beta Pi Chapters,” said Ward. “We are truly a service organization, and every student officer (as busy as they are with school work) has given countless hours to keep us at the top. It is the student members who make me look good year in and year out!"
Ward has advised the Ohio Iota chapter since 1996. He spent eight years in the work force as city engineer of O’Fallon, Mo., a project engineer with Eastman Kodak, and with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He joined Ohio Northern University as an assistant professor in 1989 after teaching at St. Louis Community College, Kansas State University, the University of Arkansas and New Mexico State. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Missouri University of Science and Technology and his doctorate from the University of Arkansas.
ONU’s Ohio Iota is one of the association’s smallest chapters with approximately 25 eligible students each year, and Ward is pivotal in providing the necessary continuity from year to year.
The chapter is one of Tau Beta Pi’s star performers, initiating 100 percent of eligible candidates. Under Ward’s direction, Ohio Iota won the Outstanding Chapter Award in 2002-03 and received honorable mentions in 2004-05 and 2009-10. It was the most decorated chapter at the 2010 Quasquicentennial Convention, winning five awards.
Ohio Iota has had an unbroken streak of 15 Secretary’s Commendations and has received the Chapter Project Award every year since its creation, using the money to fund an annual outstanding sophomore award.
Ward is a strong supporter of Tau Beta Pi’s national programs, including Engineering Futures and Greater Interest in Government. He encourages students to apply for scholarships and fellowships. In the past 10 years, ONU students have received six fellowships and seven scholarships, an outstanding achievement for any chapter. Ward consistently attends the annual convention, serving as a resource for new advisors, and recently joined the advisor recruitment and development committee.
He specializes in water resources, engaging students in projects like performing studies of increased storm water runoff from campus buildings and parking lots. Ward is committed to ONU’s outreach activities, teaching civil engineering concepts to middle and high school students as well as working with MATHCOUNTS and JETS. He serves as a member of the Ada water-steering committee and undertakes consulting projects.
Ward has been active in the American Society for Engineering Education, serving for two years as executive board chair for the north central section and as campus representative. He is a past director of the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers and was chair of its professional engineers in education practice division.
His chapter’s nomination stated, “Dr. Ward guides the officers in running the group but allows each officer to truly be a leader for the group. His support for new ideas has allowed the chapter to grow, take on new challenges, and continue [its] effectiveness as a service organization.”