About the Director of TA Certification

Thomas J. Connolly, Ph.D.

Instructional Designer and Director of TA Certification

tom connolly

Dr. Connolly has been leading the development and implementation of the TA Certification Program since its inception fall 2013. Before he joined the Academic Affairs team at the Cockrell School, he worked at the Charles A. Dana Center at UT Austin on mathematics and statistics course development in a joint effort with The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He also oversaw and developed faculty training and support materials for the Dana Center’s New Mathways Project — a systemic approach to improving student success and degree completion via mathematics course pathways that are relevant to students’ courses of study.

Dr. Connolly served for 10 years as a faculty member in mechanical engineering at Penn State University (Erie) and The University of Texas at San Antonio, where he was the principal investigator for several engineering education research programs under the auspices of the National Science Foundation. These programs focused on remotely accessible collaborative experimentation and the merging of theory-based learning and laboratory course activities using mobile computing technology to improve undergraduate engineering education.

While at Penn State and UT San Antonio, Dr. Connolly taught numerous engineering courses, including Dynamic Systems & Control Theory, Engineering Vibrations, Materials Science, Statics & Dynamics, Numerical Methods & Programming in Engineering, Measurements & Instrumentation Laboratory, Automatic Controls Laboratory, and Introduction to the Engineering Profession.

Prior to his academic career, he worked as a systems integration engineer on the Space Station and Space Shuttle programs at the NASA Johnson Space Center and as a reliability engineer on the B-2 Stealth Bomber program for the Department of Defense.

Dr. Connolly earned a B.E. in mechanical engineering from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, an M.S.E. in aerospace engineering, and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, both from UT Austin. He worked as a graduate teaching assistant for six years during his graduate studies.