Convocation lauds 10 educators


Ten MIT faculty members and students were recognized for their teaching accomplishments over the past year with four different awards.

The Graduate Student Council Teaching Awards are given each year to professors and teaching assistants on the basis of student nominations, excerpts of which were read at the Awards Convocation. Professor of Management Arnold I. Barnett was cited for "explaining complex issues in such a simple manner that you say, `of course'." Associate Professor Munther A. Dahleh of electrical engineering and computer science was lauded for being "able to engage student attention in an interactive manner that proved very effective."

Professor of Architecture Michael Dennis, wrote a nominator, possesses "a unique combination of accessibility, enthusiasm and an encyclopedic knowledge and real-world experience [that] makes him the best teacher in the Department of Architecture." Associate Professor of Management G. Peter Wilson was cited for "combining an extraordinary devotion to teaching with an unparalleled enthusiasm for his field." Tom Svrcek, a graduate student in civil and environmental engineering, is a teaching assistant "but would do a fine job as a full professor right now," a nominator wrote.

The Everett Moore Baker Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, given in memory of the dean of students from 1947-50, went to Assistant Professor Kirk D. Kolenbrander of materials science and engineering, and Elena Ruehr, a lecturer in music and theater arts. Nominators said Professor Kolenbrander "goes beyond just being an incredible instructor to his students-he's also an advisor and a friend." Dr. Ruehr's "energy and enthusiasm seemed boundless and she really transferred that enthusiasm to the students."

The Bose Award for Excellence in teaching, established in 1990 by the School of Engineering, went to Philip M. Gschwend, professor of civil and environmental engineering. He was described as a "demanding but remarkably caring advisor and teacher. with a dynamic and personal approach to teaching." The award is in honor of Amar Bose, professor of electrical engineering and computer science and founder of the Bose Corp.

The Goodwin Medal, presented to graduate students in honor of Harry Manley Goodwin, first dean of the Graduate School, went to Todd S. Anderson of chemistry and David W. Laws of urban studies and planning, both of whom were recognized for their long service as teaching assistants. Mr. Anderson, "the heart and soul of ESG," according to Graduate School Dean Frank Perkins, taught chemistry in the Experimental Studies Group for four and a half years, ran a workshop for new TAs and supervised undergraduate tutors. Mr. Laws has been a TA, instructor or guest lecturer in five different subjects. A nominator lauded his "efforts not to assess our progress, but to ensure our progress."

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Three faculty win awards for excellence in science teaching

Outstanding teachers were also recognized recently in the School of Science when Dean Robert J. Birgeneau presented the Science Teaching Prize to three faculty members. Professors Michael Artin and Sylvia T. Ceyer shared the prize for undergraduate teaching and Professor A. Nihat Berker won for graduate teaching.

Professor Artin of the Department of Mathematics was honored "for inspiring a generation of students and colleagues by the intellectual substance and simplicity of his undergraduate teaching."

Professor Ceyer of the Department of Chemistry was cited "for her care, clarity and inspired success in illuminating the concepts and resources of theoretecal chemistry."

Professor Berker of the Department of Physics was selected "for his dedication to the education. and the extraordinary breadth and effectiveness of his graduate teaching."

The awards consist of a cash honorarium and a certificate citing the honoree's unique contributions to education in the School.

In addition, Dean Birgeneau presented the School's Distinguished Service Award to Provost Mark S. Wrighton. The citation read, "In honor of your singular contributions over two decades to undergraduate and graduate education, research and administration in the School of Science." Before becoming provost, Professor Wrighton had been head of the Department of Chemistry and also a recipient of the School of Science Teaching Prize for undergraduate education.

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Five professors cited for engineering teaching

Five professors in the School of Engineering have won year-end awards for excellence in teaching, Dean Joel Moses has announced.

The 1993-94 winners of the Ruth and Joel Spira Awards for Teaching Excellence are Dr. Neil E. Todreas, KEPCO Prosfesor of Nuclear Engineering and former head of the department; Dr. Lynn A. Stein, Class of 1957 Career Development Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Dr. Emanuel M. Sachs, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

The $1,000 awards were established by Mr. and Mrs. Spira four years ago. Their daughter, Dr. Susan Hakkarainen, and son-in-law, Dr. S.P. Hakkarainen, received PhDs in nuclear engineering from MIT. Mr. Spira is founder and chairman of LUTRON Electronics Company, Inc., of Coopersburg, PA.

The winner of the 1993-94 Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching was Dr. Philip M. Gschwend, TDK Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. (See related story.)

The award recognizes outstanding contributions to undergraduate education by members of its faculty. It was made possible by a gift from the Bose Corp. and the Bose Foundation, and is a tribute to Dr. Amar Bose, professor of electrical engineering and computer science and founder of the Bose Corp.

The first winner of the Samuel M. Seegal '22 Prize was Dr. Charles C. Ladd, professor of civil and environmental engineering. The award, established by Paula Seegal-Thompson and her family in honor of their father, is given to a faculty member in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering or in the Sloan School of Management "who, more than any other, inspired students in pursuing and achieving excellence."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 7, 1995.


Topics: Awards, honors and fellowships, Faculty, Students

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