Patricia A. S. Ralston

Professor, Dept. Chair, Engineering Fundamentals


Patricia A. S. Ralston, PhD, is Professor and Chair of the Engineering Fundamentals Department at the J. B. Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville.  She is also has an associate appointment in the Chemical Engineering Department.  As Chair of Engineering Fundamentals since its creation in 2007, she has focused on developing faculty teaching excellence through the development, evaluation and adoption of innovative teaching methods, both traditional and technology enabled.

Teaching Interests

Dr. Ralston's teaching experience comprises both undergraduate and graduate courses in chemical engineering and engineering fundamentals, including thermodynamics, material and energy balances, transport phenomena, process control, engineering analysis I,II, III and differential equations, numerical methods, linear algebra and introduction to engineering. Currently, her primary teaching teaching objective is work with colleagues to pioneer best uses of web-based technologies to achieve excellence in teaching and student learning.

Research Interests

Dr. Ralston has done research and published in the discipline-specific areas of process modeling, simulation, and control, but her recent interests center on engineering educational research. Specifically, she has studied the effective use of Tablet PCs in engineering education, the incorporation of critical
thinking in undergraduate engineering education, and retention of engineering students. Currently, she is working collaboratively to develop interdisciplinary research avenues investigating learning and motivation with goal that results will inform the development and empirical assessment of interventions to promote retention and success in engineering.