Awards honor excellence in engineering teaching and advising

Engaging, passionate, amazing, genuine, truly outstanding – these are just a few of the adjectives used to describe faculty members receiving Teaching and Advising Awards at the 2023 Cornell Engineering Fall Faculty Reception hosted Sept. 12 in the Statler Ballroom.

College Teaching Awards

The College Teaching Awards recognize outstanding instructors across many dimensions including lecturing; developing novel curriculum, implementing teaching innovations, or novel pedagogy; exceptional mentoring of students; enhancements of instructional laboratories; mentoring of other faculty, or other teaching related service.

“Awardees this year include junior and senior faculty, first time winners and those with multiple awards,” said Alan Zehnder, associate dean for undergraduate programs, who presented the awards. “It is inspiring to read the nominations, to learn about some of the really great work in teaching in the college and to see just how much care and effort our colleagues are putting into supporting our students.”

The recipients were:

Hunter Adams, Lecturer, ECE
Is recognized for his work as the instructor in ECE 4760 and ECE 5760. His ambition is to make these the premier microcontroller courses in the world – and he is well on the way. His students write “This is a fantastic course. the projects have clear applications to the real world of engineering design. The professor is amazing.”

Sunghwan (Sunny) Jung, Professor, BEE
Jung is considered one of the most well-regarded teachers in BEE. Alumni credit Jung with teaching them more about problem-solving than anything else they experienced at Cornell. He put together the BE capstone design course and has been a co-PI on the BEE Active Learning Initiative grant.

Esak (Isaac) Lee, Assistant Professor, BME
Lee is recognized for his outstanding teaching of both undergraduate and graduate classes. Students really appreciate his efforts and ability to engage them, writing, for example that “Dr. Lee is one of those professors that is truly passionate about the field, and that passion translates across his teaching and then to the class.”

Peter McMahon, Assistant Professor, AEP
Is recognized for his excellent teaching in AEP/ENGRI 1100 Lasers and Photonics and for his huge effort in creating a brand-new course AEP 3100 (a junior level elective) Introduction to Quantum Computing. In the intro course students write that “the course delivery was amazing,…he teaches as if he is having a conversation with the students.”

David Goldberg, Associate Professor, ORIE
Goldberg is being recognized for his role in designing and implementing undergraduate student projects in ORIE. The program he started has now scaled to 100 students, providing valuable experiential learning opportunities to ORE and Ore bound students.   

Darrell Schlom, Professor, MSE
Schlom teaches a core course, MSE 3050: Electronic, Magnetic and Dielectric Properties of Materials. He is consistently one of the top teachers in MSE. That, on top of directing PARADIM, an NSF-funded materials innovation platform. A common theme emerges from student evaluations: “Darrell is one of the best professors at Cornell.” Words that are often used by students to describe Schlom’s teaching include engaged, eloquent and fun.

Erica Dawson, Professor of Practice, Engineering Leadership Program
Dawson teaches multiple courses in engineering leadership, the most long-running being the leadership certification courses ENGRG 3900 and 3910. Students value her work, finding the material highly relevant, exceptionally well taught and transformative with one student writing that “this course absolutely transformed my life and me as a person. Every single class, I learned invaluable lessons about leadership and how to become a better person to serve the world.”

Christopher Batten, Professor, ECE
Batten is recognized or his consistent success at teaching both undergraduate- and graduate-level courses and for creating the first tape-out class that ECE has had in many years. The nomination from the ECE leadership notes that Batten is simply the best overall instructor that we have in ECE.

Megan Holycross, Assistant Professor, EAS
Holycross is recognized for outstanding work in developing a major new course in EAS. In her second year she invented  EAS 1180 How To Build a Habitable Planet, and has succeeded in attracting 116 students. Students taking 1180 are clearly sucked in, writing “Loved it!  … the subject material was super interesting and  my understanding of Earth as a natural system has deepened greatly” This success would be noteworthy for a faculty at any career stage, but it is worth emphasizing that her teaching success was out of the starting gate, in her first two years.

Sarah Hormozi, Associate Professor, CBE
Upon arriving in 2020 in the thick of COVID, Hormozi courageously stepped into teaching undergraduate Fluid Mechanics and graduate Mathematical Methods. These are among the most technically and conceptually challenging in the ChemE curricula. The students’ comments in their evaluations illustrate Hormozi’s unusual qualities as an energetic and engaging instructor and her conscientious attention to student feedback and adaptation of the style and content of both of her courses.

Shivaun Archer, Senior Lecturer, BME
Archer has deep experience in the creation of laboratory materials. During her tenure in BME, she has created a total of 28 new laboratories. In addition, she has continuously updated laboratory assignments to accommodate new professors, to adjust for class material changes, to incorporate advances in the field, and any new equipment. Students and colleague really appreciate her efforts. With one student writing that “All of the labs in this class increased my learning of the material exponentially more than any lecture did.”

Khurram Afridi, Professor, ECE
Afridi is recognized for his outstanding instruction in ECE 2100 Introduction to Circuits. This is a key gateway course for ECE, setting the stage as students enter the major. Students’ appreciation for his work really shine through in their comments. One student sums it up in a few words: “He is really good at teaching and he knows how to teach.”

Patrick Fulton, Assistant Professor, EAS
Since arriving at Cornell, Fulton has taught five different classes: Hydrogeology, Geofluids, Earthquake Physics, Introduction to Groundwater, and Geophysical Analysis Tools. Comments from students include “The most engaging class I've taken,” “Dr. Fulton is extremely inclusive and respectful,” “Truly outstanding and a great asset to the department,” and “engaging and clear.”

Ashim Datta, Professor, BEE
Datta is an exceptionally well-regarded teacher in BEE, inspiring students with his engaging and effective classes. Fundamental to Datta’s teaching success is his belief that every student enrolled in his class can learn the material. He does this via a number of approaches, including unique group and individual problem-solving activities, hands-on demonstrations, and in-class debates to suit each course. He also serves as an enthusiastic and generous mentor for active learning throughout BEE.

Mark Campbell, Professor, MAE
Campbell is an outstanding instructor on many fronts, but in particular is recognized for his transformation of a large required MAE core course. By partially flipping the classroom, using active learning and focusing the content on what students will really need to learn as mechanical engineers he has advanced this course and the school pedagogy by a quantum leap.

Shane Henderson, Professor, ORIE
Henderson excels on every facet of teaching; his dedication and his flexibility make him one of the best teachers in the college across both large required undergraduate courses to smaller graduate courses. It is clear that students appreciate his efforts, writing for example that in ENGRD 2700 “Professor Henderson is funny and awesome at introducing concepts. He is always incredibly helpful during office hours and is always ready to answer my question.”

Ziv Goldfeld, Assistant Professor, ECE
Goldfeld has focused his undergraduate teaching efforts on ECE 4110 Random Signals in Communications and Signal Processing. This is among the most mathematically-intensive courses in the ECE curriculum – one that students have in the past found dry. But Goldfeld has brought it to life, and now students are citing the amazing lectures, frequent engagement, great examples and course content.

Jingjie (JJ) Yeo, Assistant Professor, MAE
Yeo joined MAE in 2020 and has quickly become one of the most well-regarded teachers within the school. His passion for education is reflected in his work as editor-in-chief of the journal STEM Education, his work with the non-profit Station 1, and his outstanding results in our gateway course on statics and mechanics of materials. Students really appreciate his work writing for example that “JJ has been my favorite professor so far at Cornell. He does a great job of tying together concepts and making lectures engaging and very informational.”

Donors supporting the College Teaching Awards include Robert '55 and Vanne '57 Cowie, James and Mary Tien, Dorothy and Fred Chau MS '74, Sonny Yau '72, Douglas Whitney '61, Kenneth A. Goldman '71, Mr. & Mrs. Richard F. Tucker, John Swanson '61 ME in honor of his mother Dorothy G. Swanson, Michael Tien '72, Daniel M. Lazar '29, Fiona Ip Li '78 and Donald Li '75, Ralph S. Watts '72, and Dennis G. Shepherd.

James M. and Marsha D. McCormick Advising Awards

These awards recognize outstanding efforts by advisors of first-year undergraduate students. Faculty are nominated by their students and the appreciation of the students for their advisors is strongly felt.

The recipients were:

Matthew Reiter, Professor of Practice, CEE
Reiter was nominated by his students who noted that he genuinely cared about their well-being. He was a committed advisor who came to his 1050 class with different ideas and icebreakers. One of the peer advisors notes that Reiter was excited and engaged throughout the semester and was such a pleasure to work with.

Chris Schaffer, Professor, BME
Schaffer has been an excellent advisor who has provided guidance to students on taking courses, planning for the future, and reaching out to professors for research. Students note that not only has he provided valuable advice, but he has also been extremely approachable responding to emails and questions almost immediately. “It reduces my anxiety by having an advisor that genuinely cares,” said one student.

Canaan Family Award for Excellence in Academic Advising – In Honor of Prof. Bingham Cady

First awarded in 2021, the Canaan Family Award for Excellence in Academic Advising is given in honor of Professor Bingham Cady, who was known by his students as terrific adviser with a rare ability to find the simplicity in complex problems.

This year’s recipient was:

Nate Cira, Assistant Professor, BME
Cira advises the Cornell IGEM team. He was cited by the students as “an incredible mentor.”  He helped iGEM students with project selection, finding research funding, with connecting the team to needed resources and introducing team members to other faculty who would provide support.

Albert R. George Endowed Faculty Award for Student Project Teams Mentorship

The Albert George Award was first established in 2022 with a gift from Doug Deane.

This year’s recipient was:

Qiuming Yu, Professor, CBE
Yu has provided steadfast guidance, support and advocacy to the students of ChemE Car as they grappled with safety and other challenges this past year. She traveled with the team to competitions. Her commitment and partnership over the past year have set an incredible example for everyone involved.

CIS Excellence in Teaching and Advising Awards

These awards were presented at the CIS Reception in May 2023, but as these are also engineering colleagues we wanted to recognize them during the Engineering Fall Faculty Reception.

Anne Bracy, Senior Lecturer, CS
Bracy has taught nearly every computer science undergraduate major, introduced innovative methods to her classrooms, and shared them with colleagues in CS.

Robbert van Renesse, Professor, CS
Van Renesse is recognized for his renovation of the core course CS 4410/5410 and its practicum, CS 4411/5411. He is also developing a book around this material.

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