According to UPJ President Albert Etheridge, “Dave approaches his teaching with an uncommon passion for the students to learn and for them to understand the principles of physics. He instills students with an unfulfilled desire to know more and to understand more.”
Willey’s student evaluations are filled with praise for his teaching, Etheridge added. “He challenges his students to craft their scientific inquiries carefully, to think critically and to formulate nontraditional approaches to problem solving. Through open dialogue and an insistence for excellence, he consistently prepares students to think and solve problems in different ways.”
Willey might be best known as a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” Etheridge said. “He has wowed audiences with his demonstrations of physics. Through his appearances on ‘The Tonight Show,’ Dave is reaching millions with his message of the importance of science and its application in everyday life. His devotion to physics and, more importantly, his ability to inculcate students with a love and appreciation for science has won the admiration of colleagues from across the region and beyond. As a teacher, colleague and role model, [Dave] is regarded as intellectually spirited, challenging and enthusiastic.”
Willey earned his B.S. from Aston University, U.K., a certificate in education from Birmingham University, U.K., and an M.S. from Ohio State University. He joined the Pitt-Johnstown faculty in 1975. In 1990 he received the Dr. Ed Vizzini Teacher of the Year award.
via University Times