Emerging Engineering Educator

Rebecca Reck, Ph.D.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

For pioneering research-based course reforms; for leadership in scholarship and teaching; and for outstanding service in technical and professional societies, including SWE.

Rebecca Reck, Ph.D., is a teaching associate professor and associate head of undergraduate programs in bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she teaches courses in biomedical instrumentation and signal processing. She also co-teaches a teaching and leadership course for graduate students in The Grainger College of Engineering.

Dr. Reck’s research includes experiential learning, undergraduate instructional laboratories, inclusive pedagogy, and the entrepreneurial mindset. She leads a team creating a community of practice for STEM lab and design instructors to share ideas and develop creative solutions to improve STEM courses across the college. Her recent research project moved student focus in a laboratory course from merely earning points to learning from errors and demonstrating technical skills. In recognition of her scholarly accomplishment and track record of inspiring students, Dr. Reck was recently appointed to oversee all three undergraduate programs in her department: bioengineering, neural engineering, and computer science and bioengineering.

From 2016 through 2020, Dr. Reck was an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Kettering University, where she taught courses in dynamic systems and controls. She served as a counselor for two of the collegiate sections of the Society of Women Engineers at the university. Dr. Reck was also faculty advisor for Kettering’s controls and simulation team in the Society of Automotive Engineers International/General Motors AutoDrive Challenge.

Earlier in her career, Dr. Reck worked as a systems engineer in the Systems and Software Group in the Flight Control Systems Department at Rockwell Collins Inc., now Collins Aerospace. During her eight years at Rockwell Collins, she contributed to the development of the new ProLine Fusion Flight Control System and served as the project lead for two aircraft.

Dr. Reck is an active volunteer in the American Society for Engineering Education, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), ABET, and SWE. She is the section counselor for the SWE Illinois Collegiate Section and liaison to the SWE Central Illinois Section. Dr. Reck also serves as the communications lead for SWE’s Women in Academia (WIA) committee. She was previously the chair of WIA and a member of SWE’s Integrated Marketing Advisory Board.

Dr. Reck has received several awards and recognitions from her peers for her service and leadership. In 2016, she received SWE’s Distinguished New Engineer award, and the IEEE elevated her role to senior member. In 2020, Dr. Reck was awarded the SWE Outstanding Counselor award; in 2021, she was honored with the WE Local ELiTE award.

Dr. Reck earned a B.S. in electrical engineering with a minor in mathematics at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, an M.S. in electrical engineering at Iowa State University, and a Ph.D. in systems and entrepreneurial engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where her published research focused on experiential learning in lab and service-learning courses.

She enjoys making jewelry from electrical components and recycled parts, taking nature photographs, and running.