Michael Gross, Ph.D.

Department Chair, Professor

Phone: 336.702.1969

Office: 455 Vine Street, Bldg 60 South, Rm 1606

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Ph.D. Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Pennsylvania
M.S. Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Pennsylvania
B.S. Chemical Engineering, Bucknell University


The Gross lab studies the processing of solid state materials, particularly mixed metal oxides, for electrochemical energy conversion applications. The various facets of this research include synthesis, structural characterization, and thermochemical characterization. The Gross lab also develops multifunctional ceramic composites for solid oxide fuel cell electrodes, fabricating and testing the electrochemical performance of prototype devices. Finally, Gross studies activity-level, or situational, student motivation in STEM courses with the goal of directly applying motivation theory and empirical research findings to practical course design.

Student Motivation

I conduct research to better understand student motivation and support student intrinsic motivation in the classroom. Motivations are tightly connected to outcomes such as self-efficacy, critical thinking, creativity, self-regulation, and pro-social behavior, goals that are identified as critical to the success of future STEM graduates. I believe that students’ dynamic motivational responses to short-term activities in the classroom can have a measurable long-term impact on these attributes. Because instructors’ practice most directly impacts classroom situations, I am particularly interested in translating findings to practice by developing tools that enable practitioners unfamiliar with motivation research to quickly begin understanding and harnessing the power of motivation to enhance the engagement and satisfaction experienced by their students.