Excellence in Teaching Awards

Nominations for the Excellence in Teaching Awards are made by students. They consider several criteria, including depth of knowledge in the subject; ability to provide effective links among course content, research, and experiential learning; and the rigor of course content. Award decisions are made by a committee composed of faculty members and representatives of the undergraduate Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Government

Award Recipients

Olson SandersAmy M. Briesch, Assistant Professor of Counseling and Applied Psychology
An enthusiastic, well-prepared, and skilled lecturer, Professor Briesch ensures that her students develop critical thinking skills that will help them apply foundational knowledge to novel situations. Her students are effusive about her “extensive” and “extraordinarily helpful” feedback. Classes are highly challenging, well-structured, and content-loaded with course concepts clearly applied through assignments. Students comment that her dedication to teaching is palpable, and that she promotes high standards and provides clear expectations. One student echoed many others: “The structure and level of feedback in this course is fantastic and facilitates learning in a way that I have rarely experienced.”

ShaughnessyJohn Engen, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
In his signature bioanalytical chemistry course, Professor Engen pushes students to understand the practical applications of complex theories. Through a rigorous mix of problem sets, real-world examples, and hands-on lab work, he challenges students to think critically and “trust nothing without verification, as that is the essence of good science.” Students praise Professor Engen’s deep knowledge of chemistry and his desire to help students learn and not just memorize key ideas, establishing a foundation for their future scientific work. His classes are demanding but fulfilling. As one student says, “His love for the subject makes you want to learn.”

ShaughnessyNader Jalili, Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Professor Jalili is an exceptional instructor, with a level of personal commitment to course material and his students’ success that is second to none. According to his students, Professor Jalili is approachable, displays a remarkable willingness to address student concerns, and “applies real-world problems to our problem sets.” Furthermore, he “explains everything in a way that keeps your attention, so that you pay attention and remember.” “His particular talent lies in his mastery of the learning process,” says one student. Yet another says: “The projects for the class, while difficult, were perfectly designed and some of the best learning tools I have ever encountered.”