PhD candidates Steven Bell and Jayant Charthad received the 2015 Centennial Teaching Assistant Award. The Centennial award program recognizes outstanding teaching by TA's in the Humanities and Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Engineering schools.
Nominated by faculty, peers, and previous students, each will receive a $500 prize and certificate in a June ceremony.
Steven is the Head TA for ENGR40M, a wildly popular "maker" course. With Mark Horowitz as lead faculty, the course was re-vamped and taught to a small group of students in Spring of 2014. By Fall quarter, 120 students were enrolled. The current semester has 277 students enrolled; the highest enrollment to date.
Steven worked with his Ph.D advisor Mark Horowitz to create E40M. He created some of the lab assignments, and has worked tirelessly improving all of them to be more clear and fun for the students. He also manages the lab sessions and creates homework assignments, improving the clarity and educational value whenever possible.
A few comments from Steven's nominators include:
- "Steven's contributions have been essential to the course's success. Keenly aware that our students are beginners, Steven has worked tirelessly to improve the accessibility of our subject."
- "He's also always looking to see how the class can be made better. He doesn't just fix current problems, but looks to see how such problems can be avoided in the future. Not only is he hardworking and organized, but he's a wonderful teacher. When explaining concepts to students, he presents them in an easy to understand way and checks in with the students to be sure they are actually understanding what he's saying."
- "[I]t is clear that he thinks deeply about ways of teaching the introductory concepts in E40M more effectively. None of these efforts are required of a CA or head CA, but they speak to his commitment to improving the educational experience for both students and fellow teaching staff."
A few comments from Jayant's nominators include:
- "Jayant's responses were lengthy, often going above and beyond the scope of the question to make sure the student would appreciate the problem in the greater context of IC design and to help the student develop intuition."
- "He understands that learning is a journey and serves as a wonderful guide through the process. His humble nature makes him intrinsically approachable and helps transform apprehensive freshmen in electrical engineering into inquisitive explorers, itching for intellectual discovery. Long after lab hours have ended, Jayant is always there and welcoming of our questions."
- "From my experience in this class, I do think Jayant influenced my decision to pursue circuits as my B.S. and M.S. concentrations."
Congratulations to Steven and Jayant! Their efforts are recognized and greatly valued by the Electrical Engineering department.