Maria Oden, director of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK) at Rice University and a pioneer in healthcare technologies for the developing world, has been named to the recently created position of full teaching professor in bioengineering, effective July 1.
Oden also serves as co-director of Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health, and previously held the position of professor in the practice of bioengineering (BIOE).
“Maria Oden is arguably the most impactful teacher on campus. She cares deeply about design and teamwork and bringing out the excellence in every one of the more than 1,200 students who set foot in the OEDK every year. Amazing things happen all the time, and we’ve come to expect Maria to magically make it so -- and she does!” said Edwin L. “Ned” Thomas, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering.
Paula Sanders, vice provost for academic affairs, explained that the position of full teaching professor was created to recognize faculty members who have “established a record of consistently excellent teaching at Rice or elsewhere, who are recognized as pedagogical mentors in their department and school, and who are demonstrated pedagogical leaders in their discipline.”
Oden earned a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Tulane University in 1994 and spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow and instructor at Harvard Medical School. She served as a senior research associate at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and as a faculty member at the UT Health Science Center at Houston. She joined the Rice faculty in 2004.
Oden’s development of engineering design programs for undergraduates in bioengineering, the Beyond Traditional Borders (BTB) initiative and Global Health Technologies (GLHT) minor, were recognized by the Fred Merryfield Design Award from the American Society for Engineering Education in 2012. BTB was chosen as a model program by Science magazine and awarded the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction in 2012 and the Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation the following year. Oden has been selected twice for Rice’s George R. Brown Prize for Superior Teaching (2012 and 2016).