Friday, May 9, 2003
Reha Tütüncü, John Woolford and Ksenija Simic received the highest awards for teaching in the Mellon College of Science at the MCS Annual Faculty Meeting on May 8.
The Julius Ashkin Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Reha Tütüncu, Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences who joined Carnegie Mellon in 1996. This award recognizes his work in both Operations Research I course and Projects in Applied Mathematics. In creating and teaching the innovative Projects in Applied Mathematics involved, Reha worked with business and industry to solicit projects such as a returns-based analysis problem for a mutual fund manager and designing and optimizing a basic layout for a new manufacturing facility. Steve Shreve commented, "This requires a tremendous amount of time, energy, diplomacy, and good mathematical sense. In fact, no one before Reha dared undertake this, even though we all knew it would contribute much to the education of our undergraduates." Both faculty and students praised his ability to direct students on tremendously varied projects and to facilitate successful communication with project sponsors. Many students wrote eloquently about his tireless efforts on their behalf, consistent attention to individual needs in and out of class, and ability to make grading criteria clear even in ambiguous situations.
John Woolford, Professor of Biological Sciences, received The Richard Moore Award for his “substantial and sustained contributions to the educational mission of MCS.” Woolford, who previously received both the Ashkin Award and the university’s Ryan Award, has taught courses on the molecular biology of eukaryotes with ratings never below 4.69. His leadership has extended far beyond the classroom to chairing the Biological Sciences undergraduate curriculum committee, co-chairing the departmental graduate advisory committee, acting as ambassador to the CMU-Pitt MD/Ph.D. program, serving on the MCS curriculum task force, and serving on the University First-Year Council. As Elizabeth Jones wrote, “By any criterion, John Woolford has been a deeply committed educator willing to turn his hand to any and all aspects of the education process, from one-on-one teaching to classroom teaching to committee work of all kinds to research advisory and thesis committees in numbers large enough to break the backs of many of us.”
Ksenija Simic, a fifth year graduate student in Mathematical Sciences, was selected as this year’s Hugh D. Young Graduate Teaching Award recipient. Her excellence as a teaching assistant was cited for a large number of courses throughout the calculus sequence as well as teaching her own summer courses in Matrix Algebra and Discrete Mathematics. As Deborah Brandon writes, "She obviously has a very strong commitment to teaching, and puts a lot of throught into her presentations–her explanations are crystal clear." Many students, from freshman through graduate students and returning adults, comment on her extraordinary dedication, talent for making the classes interesting and collaborative, and her ability to adjust her pace and level to students’ needs, one-on-one or in class. Beyond her excellence in her courses, Ksenija’s passion for teaching included work as a trainer/supervisor of Supplemental Instruction leaders, as a Teaching Fellow for the Eberly Center, and a tutor for students at the Falk Laboratory School and others.