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Larry G. Richards came to UVA in 1969, joined the School of Engineering and Applied Science in 1976, and moved to Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 1985 to develop and administer the Manufacturing Systems Engineering Program. He served as Director of the MSE Program from 1986 to 2002, and Director of the A. H. Small Center for Computer Aided Engineering from 1992 to 2002.

For the past 15 years, Larry has brought Engineering Teaching Kits (ETKs) into middle school science and math classes through the Virginia Middle School Engineering Education Initiative. These ETKs introduce the engineering design approach to problem-solving and teach key science and math concepts using guided inquiry. ETKs have been developed on over 50 topics, including submersible vehicles, solar cars, heat transfer, building bridges, catapults and projectile motion, water filtration systems, electricity and magnetism, crash testing and passenger protection, aerospace engineering, sustainable house design, simple machines, and brain surgery. Teams of undergraduate students design and implement the ETKs, and field-test them in local schools. This project has been funded by the Payne Family Foundation and the National Science Foundation (NSF-EEC-0230609). Larry is a member of NSTA, the National Science Teachers Association, and has published in their journals for middle and high school teachers.

Larry teaches courses on Creativity and New Product Development, Invention and Design, and graduate Probability and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists. With funding from Micron Corporation, he developed an asynchronous on-line version of the statistics course, and it has been well received by both on- and off-grounds students.

Larry is active in the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) and Frontiers in Education (FIE). He is past Chair of the Educational Research and Methods (ERM) Division of ASEE and has been on the Advisory Board for the K – 12 Engineering Education and Outreach Division. He is also active in the Entrepreneurship Division of ASEE and the National Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), and serves as the University of Virginia ASEE Campus Representative. Larry was General Chair for FIE 2010 – the 40th Anniversary Frontiers in Education conference – held in Arlington Virginia in October 2010. He is a Fellow of ASEE.

Dr. Richards’ current scholarly interests include engineering entrepreneurship, creativity, and new product development, the engineering design process, and the role of technology in design. He also studies innovative methods to improve engineering education, including active and cooperative learning, case methods, computer-based techniques, and distance and online learning.