Virginia Tech Teacher of the Week
The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Matthew Eatherton, assistant professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, for creating a relaxed atmosphere of respect wherein he learns each student’s name, creates opportunities for open communication, and values students’ opinions about course content, scheduling, and course related activities. In return, Dr. Eatherton expects on-time high quality work from his students and participation in classroom activities.
Matthew Eatherton teaches several structural engineering courses such as Steel Design I (CEE 3434), Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering (CEE 5464), and Advanced Steel Design (CEE 6434). Registration in these courses ranges from 47 undergraduate students to 10 graduate students. Regardless of the course, level, or the number of students enrolled, Dr. Eatherton attempts to get to know every one of his students individually. He also tries to bring hands-on demonstrations into the classroom as he feels that many difficult engineering concepts can be understood more effectively through active demonstrations.
Dr. Eatherton has engaged his students through the use of demonstrations he developed, such as through the use of an educational shake table, machines that demonstrate buckling, building information modeling learning modules, and other tools for active learning.
Since joining the faculty at Virginia Tech in 2010, Dr. Eatherton has received superb scores through the student perceptions of teaching (SPOT) survey in response to whether his teaching is effective. Students have reached out to thank Dr. Eatherton, as he has received several notes of appreciation from students through the CIDER “Thank a Teacher” program. Dr. Eatherton values his teaching, and attempts to reach his students through the use of numerous teaching methods. Upon observing one of the Steel Design I classes (CEE 3434), a colleague stated that Eatherton “demonstrated command of the material,” “had good rapport with the class,” and “engaged students.” He concluded, “Professor Eatherton is a very effective teacher. In one class session, he demonstrated proficiency in various pedagogical techniques.”
Matthew Eatherton’s research interests include: Steel structures, high performance seismic force resisting systems, earthquake resistance of structures, structural dynamics, sustainability of structural systems, and experimental research and methods.
More information about Professor Eatherton, his research program, the classes he teaches, and the syllabi for those courses can be found at: