Paul Steif is a professor emeritus in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He taught in this department from August 1983 until his retirement in December 2023. In recent years, Steif’s research focused mostly on engineering education, including research to better understand how students learn basic engineering concepts, and to develop educational materials that help students achieve a fundamental understanding of engineering subjects.

Much of Steif’s work in engineering education addressed learning in the subject of Statics, a required course in a number of engineering disciplines. Research projects included: establishing a conceptual framework for statics; devising tests to assess conceptual understanding in statics and integrating their use into instruction; and developing interactive courseware for statics that provides data to students and instructors on learning progress.

Besides his research, Steif was heavily invested in developing the sophomore mechanics courses, which he taught for more than two decades. In addition, he served as Associate Department Head from 2013 until his retirement.

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Paul Steif


1982 Ph.D., Harvard University

1980 MS, Harvard University

1979 BS, Brown University

Media mentions

CMU Engineering

Saving lives through advanced cryopreservation

Professor Yoed Rabin received a $1.6 million award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to develop technology for cryopreservation, the preservation of tissues and organs at extremely low temperatures.