Carnegie Mellon University

Teaching Innovation Award

Introduced in 2016, the Teaching Innovation Awards are Carnegie Mellon's newest faculty recognition.  The awards honor teaching practices or strategies designed to improve student learning in online, blended or face-to-face courses. Individual faculty members and/or teams of colleagues may be recognized.

Most Recent Recipients


Individual Awardee:

Molly McCarter
Assistant Teaching Professor, School of Drama

Molly McCarter joined the faculty at the School of Drama in the fall of 2014. In her time at CMU she has received the Wimmer Faculty Fellowship and has served as the co-chair for the school’s Diversity & Inclusion committee and is currently working on the planning committee for the School of Drama’s multiyear curricular review.  

Professionally, her stage and production management credits include work on Broadway at the New Victory, off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre, regionally at companies such as Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Guggenheim, Shakespeare & Company and Yale Repertory Company, and internationally with the English National Opera Studio. She is also a founding member of Moderate Woo, a feminist theatre collective operating out of Portland, Oregon.  McCarter is a graduate of Salem State University and Yale University and is a proud member of Actors Equity Association.

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Team Awardees:

Umut Acar
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science

Anil Ada

Assistant Teaching Professor, Department of Computer Science

Umut Acar and Anil Ada are faculty members in the Computer Science Department. Acar’s research interests include algorithms and programming languages, with emphasis on dynamic algorithms, parallel algorithms and the theory of programming. Ada’s research is in theoretical computer science, with an emphasis on trying to understand the power and limitations of computers and computation. Ada has won the Herbert Simon Award for Teaching Excellence in the School of Computer Science. Over the past few years, Acar and Ada have been researching “computational learning and education” which aims to develop a computational approach to educational problems. 


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Team Awardees:

Peter Adams

Professor, Departments of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy

Katarzyna Snyder 
Staff Instructor, Dietrich Dean's Office 

James Wynn 
Associate Professor, Department of English

Peter Adams is a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and the Engineering and Public Policy Department. His research focuses on development of chemical transport models and their application to decision-making.

Adams is the director of the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies at Carnegie Mellon. He has served on the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee Particulate Matter Review Panel. He was selected for a Fulbright grant to collaborate with researchers in Bologna, Italy, and has been a visiting senior research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He has served on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee. He teaches courses on air pollution, climate change and environmental modeling.
Snyder is a Polish negotiator to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, senior advisor to the current president of the multilateral climate change negotiations process and an adjunct instructor with the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. Snyder has been involved in international climate negotiations since 2008. During that time, she held the role of the chief negotiator for Poland, assistant negotiator for the European Union and the co-chair of the EU expert group on means of implementation. She held advisory and leadership roles on the presidency teams leading three Climate Summits in 2008, 2013 and 2018. Snyder graduated with a master's degree in international relations from the University of Warsaw, and master's degree in human rights law from the Central European University. She was a visiting scholar at Columbia University of New York and worked in the non-governmental sector on the climate and human rights related issues in Warsaw, Kigali, Nairobi and Geneva. 

James Wynn is an associate professor of English and rhetoric at Carnegie Mellon University. His interests and research explore the intersections of rhetoric, science, mathematics, and public policy. His first book Evolution by the Numbers (2012), examines how mathematics was argued into the study of variation, evolution and heredity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His most recent monograph Citizen Science in the Digital Age explores how the internet and internet-connected devices are reshaping the landscapes of argument occupied by scientists, lay persons and governments. Wynn teaches classes in a number of subject areas related to argument and writing studies including Rhetoric of Science, Rhetoric and Public Policy, Argumentation, and Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing.

Adams, Snyder and Wynn have collaborated to develop and teach the Freshman Grand Challenge Seminar on Climate Change. Adams introduces students to the science of climate change and helps them understand their impact on the environment through his carbon footprint assignment. Snyder invites students into the political process around climate change negotiation and gives students the opportunity to be negotiators in her mock negotiations project. Wynn guides students in how to examine the rhetoric of climate change by exploring the choices of language and argument in scientific research papers, media reporting and debates between believers and doubters in anthropogenic climate change.