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Exceptional CS Department Faculty, Teaching Assistants and Staff recognized in Annual Award Ceremony

The Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science recognized its exceptional professors, teaching assistants and staff members during the recent annual spring award ceremony. “Honoring our outstanding faculty and staff members is something we all look forward to each year,” said Dr. Mark W. Spong, dean of the Jonsson School. “We could not have successful students and programs in our fast-growing school without team members contributing their best efforts to provide a rich educational experience and productive work environment.”

The first staff award handed out by the Dean went to Norma Richardson. “This award goes to a person who has been described as an efficient organizer, good negotiator, and a team player who continuously exceeds expectations in her job. In her position as an administrative assistant, she is in charge of handling departmental operations ranging from dealing with student concerns to troubleshooting last-minute travel issues. Her high level of professionalism and approachable attitude make her an indispensable member of her department.”

Three out of four Outstanding Faculty Teaching Awards went to CS department faculty: Dr. Rym Zalila-Wenkstern, associate professor of computer science, Dr. Nurcan Yuruk and Dr. John Cole, both senior lecturers. Dr. Gopal Gupta, Department Head of the CS department handed out the Teaching Awards.

The first Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award went to Dr. Rym Zalila-Wenkerstern –“a faculty member who is known for her engaging teaching style and ability to provide students with thorough content. Her class structure encourages participation and gives clear expectations for deliverables that are critical in the work environment. She is recognized as a superb mentor and supervisor who is attentive to the details of her students’ research. She is also the founding director of our Executive MS program in Software Engineering, which has thrived under her leadership.”

The second recipient was Dr. Nurcan Yuruk – “who is described as patient, knowledgeable, and well-organized. Her skill in web programming languages is appreciated by students in her classes, who say that her fast-paced, but thoughtful teaching style prepares them for future work in their field. The encouragement she has given her class is known to make the subject matter clear and entertaining.”

The third Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award went to Dr. John Cole – “Students in his class say that he provides informative, well-structured lectures that explain difficult concepts in an easy-to-understand way. His utilization of multi-media in the classroom offers an interactive learning environment, and emphasizes not only his knowledge of the course topic, but to topics in other domains as well. He is also the associate director of the Center for CS Education and Outreach, as well as the advisor for the Student Chapter of the ACM. Over the last year he has helped organize seven hackathons, including a highly successful one by UT Dallas ACM.”

Each year students are asked to nominate their favorite TA for the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Teaching Award. This year two TAs from the CS department received the award. Nazim Ahmed is recognized by students as knowledgeable and supportive. According to one student: “He was very helpful with any questions we had, and was easily approachable and eager to help us – regardless of how simple or complex the question might be.” Vishal Karande, the second recipient, distinguished himself in the classroom as a responsible, knowledgeable instructor. His aptitude to convey advanced concepts in a clear manner have made him particularly effective with students.


Outstanding Faculty Teaching Awards

Dr. John Cole Teaching award 2015Dr. Rym Wenkstern Exceptional Teacher 2015


Dr. Nurcan Yuruk faculty award 2015

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Teaching Awards

teaching Assistant Teaching  Awards 2015

Staff Awards

Staff award norma richardson 2015

Read more about the awards at UTDallas | News Center

About the UT Dallas Computer Science Department

The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 1,600 bachelor’s-degree students, more than 1,100 master’s students, 160 PhD students, and 80 faculty members as of Fall 2015 . With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the Jonsson School is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for engineers and computer scientists. Located in the high-tech region of North Texas, the Jonsson School averages more than 500 student placements a year at Dallas-area high-tech companies and is in perfect position to achieve its goals.

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