Michael Wenye Li / Sun Photography Editor

Eight faculty were recently recognized by University for their outstanding teaching.

November 15, 2018

Cornell Profs Awarded Annual Grants for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

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Faculty with “a record of commitment to the teaching and mentoring” of undergraduates were named 2018 recipients of the Stephen H. Weiss Awards by President Martha Pollack on Nov. 2.

Prof. George Boyer, economics and international and comparative labor, Prof. Dexter Kozen, engineering, Prof. Poppy McLeod, communication and Prof. Kelly Zamudio, ecology & evolutionary biology were the tenured professors given the Presidential Fellow Award. They will receive $5,000 a year for five years as long as they hold an appointment at Cornell.

Tenured associate professors are eligible for Junior Fellow awards and $3,000 per year for five years. Prof. Kati Griffith, labor relations, law and history, and Prof. David Smith, psychology, received the Junior Fellowships.

Sr. Lecturer Rhonda Gilmore, human ecology, and Sr. Lecturer Bruce Land, electrical and computer engineering, were recognized as Provost Teaching Fellows, which are given to non-tenure track title holders and also includes $3,000 per year for five years.

Zamudio, who teaches BIOEE1780: An Introduction to Evolutionary Biology and Diversity, has made an effort to implement active learning into her classroom.

“Most students are performing better in terms of grades and this is reflected in their learning. The classroom also feels much more collaborative, the climate is better, feels more fun,” she wrote in an email to The Sun.

“College is such a formative time in many people’s lives. I remember when I was an undergrad and how much I was influenced by my professors,” McLeod said. “It’s important for me to be aware of what students are learning as undergrads and the kind of influence I can have on their outlook and their approach to the material I teach.”

McLeod tries to make sure her own enthusiasm for the material comes across in her course COMM 3100: Communication and Decision Making in Groups. “If I enjoy it, I think the students will enjoy it,” she said.

Kozen says he invites support groups like Women in Computing at Cornell to give presentations in his CS 2112: Honors Object-Oriented Design and Data Structures class, and he tries to challenge his students with the coursework. “There’s a lot of creativity and flexibility involved, and as we get further along in the course, we let them use their own judgement and design skills.”

“It’s just a wonderful thing to be a part of the development of these young people and to be able to see how amazing the next generation are,” Kozen said. “You watch them develop as technicians, as researchers, as engineers, as thinkers, and they go out there and do great things.”