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The Chancellor’s Award for Research Excellence is given annually to a WSU Vancouver faculty member whose research quality and quantity are exemplary, and whose work has had a positive influence on the broader community. It is the university’s highest research honor.

Dave Kim

Professor of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering and Computer Science

The mission of land grant universities such as Washington State is to advance student knowledge and opportunities while also supporting the local community. Dave Kim has made that mission his own. His record demonstrates a commitment to collaboration and mentorship while advancing and applying new research.

Kim’s work has not only fostered scientific innovation but also strengthened science education. His technical research on aerospace materials has influenced the broader community through collaboration with regional industries, such as Boeing and Fatigue Technology. His efforts to improve student writing in engineering education has helped faculty learn strategies for improving lab report writing in undergraduate laboratory courses.

Kim’s technical research has impacted regional industries and been recognized internationally. For example, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s final assembly draws on carbon composite/titanium hybrid materials and techniques in his research, and fatigue simulation technologies developed from his research group have fostered a new engineering service. His research in engineering education has influenced engineering laboratory instructions for multiple engineering schools nationwide. It has also influenced the first-year writing program in English, shown how students can transfer knowledge about writing conventions from one context to another, and demonstrated how experts in STEM and the humanities can work together to develop innovative approaches to student learning.

Since joining WSU Vancouver in 2003, Kim has brought in nearly $2 million in research funding from federal and state agencies, industries and nonprofit organizations. He has published 68 papers in prestigious journals and prepared 70 refereed conference papers. His work resulted in best paper awards from the International Journal of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering in 2016; and the American Society of Engineering Annual Conference in 2019. As head of the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Lab in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, he strives to build a tradition of research excellence that will improve society into the future, collaborating with junior faculty members and graduate students. Graduate students he has mentored have gone on to positions in highly competitive companies, such as Boeing, Intel and Microsoft. One student said of Kim, “His instruction was instrumental in my ability to do the job I was initially hired to do and allowed me to be a productive member of my team almost immediately.”

Kim completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Sungkyunkwan University Korea, and his Ph.D. at the University of Washington in Seattle.