ECE faculty honored for teaching excellence, lifetime achievement

Written by
Molly Sharlach, Office of Engineering Communications
March 21, 2022

Engineering student organizations celebrated the passion and dedication of faculty members and graduate student teaching assistants at the annual School of Engineering and Applied Science Excellence in Teaching Awards.

“We hope to recognize the professors and teaching assistants that performed much more than what was expected of them,” said Stanley Cho, a junior in chemical and biological engineering and president of the undergraduate engineering council, in opening remarks at the March 16 ceremony. “We can’t emphasize enough how much we enjoyed reading [students’] heartfelt comments during the nomination process.”

The teaching awards, overseen by the graduate and undergraduate engineering councils, recognize outstanding instructors in courses held during the spring semester 2020-21 and the fall semester 2021-22.

“There’s nothing that can give me more pleasure than honoring excellence in teaching,” Princeton Engineering Dean Andrea Goldsmith told student nominators, awardees and guests gathered at the Friend Center. “The importance of teaching at Princeton is profound,” she said.

Claire Gmachl, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering and head of Whitman College, received a Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing her longtime commitment to excellence in undergraduate education. The award is given to faculty who have received five or more Excellence in Teaching Awards. Gmachl earned her fifth such award this year for teaching "Foundations of Engineering: Mechanics, Energy, and Waves" (EGR 151).

Hossein Valavi, a lecturer in electrical and computer engineering, received an Excellence in Teaching Award for his spring 2021 offering of "Electronic Circuit Design, Analysis and Implementation" (ECE 203).

Sophomore Rohit Narayanan said that class with Valavi “was not about him presenting the material, but rather about us knowing it … [He] had the unique skill of correcting a student thoroughly without making them feel anything but the utmost pride in being bold enough to present, and every time the class gained significantly from the interaction.”