Gordon Krauss, Fletcher Jones Professor of Engineering Design, wishes he were a better skier. “That is to say, that I wish I could ski without hurting myself,” he says. Should he decide to, Krauss will have time during the next academic year to make his wish come true. As a recently named Fulbright Scholar, Krauss will be living and teaching in Tyrol, Austria, where world-famous skiing is just a 15-minute funicular ride away during winter.
Fulbright Austria chose Krauss to participate in the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program at the Management Center of Innsbruck (MCI), an innovative institution founded in 1995. MCI’s focus as an entrepreneurial school is well aligned with Krauss’s interests. “Its breadth on the business program side is a great opportunity to improve engineering approaches in design,” he says. “I think I will learn a lot and hopefully make connections that will benefit students from MCI and from HMC in the future. And it doesn’t hurt that Innsbruck is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Austria.”
In addition to teaching courses in engineering design and/or new product development, Krauss will continue research on an online peer feedback design review tool he’s developed with his HMC research students over the last several years. “The online tool is a website that lets student reviewers (or other reviewers) provide feedback that can be anonymized and shared with the presenting design teams,” he says. “At Harvey Mudd, it has resulted in far greater quantity, higher quality and more equitable peer feedback than traditional methods. In addition to removing many of the barriers to sharing feedback and biases in receiving feedback, it also permits instructors and others to see the impact of comments on the design team.”
Selecting Austria as his Fulbright destination was an intentional decision. “Austria is a wonderful country with very different cultural norms regarding design review feedback,” he says. “I’m excited to see how my observations at Mudd and in the U.S. align with or conflict with their standards and expectations. So I have very valid research reasons for this selection. In addition, the area I will be staying in has been described by other Fulbrighters as like living in a movie or postcard.”
Though Krauss speaks some German (he rates his mastery between “truly awful and very bad”), the majority of his teaching will be in English. “I’m hopeful that I can do something that will benefit MCI and its students and learn something to bring back for HMC students. I also expect to learn something new with respect to my research.”
As for the skiing, Krauss makes no promises, but he does plan to participate as fully in the local culture as he can. “As Fulbright is both a cultural exchange and educational program, I’m very interested in learning more about and sharing cultural perspectives,” he says. Krauss plans to heed the advice given to him by his Boston University dissertation advisor, Professor Paul Barbone, who said to live as much as possible as an Austrian rather than as an American living in Austria. “I am excited to learn about the culture and experience things ranging from the local cuisine to athletics to arts and music.”