Peter Kilpatrick, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Illinois Institute of Technology, recognized faculty across the university through the 2019 Excellence in Teaching Awards. Promila Dhar, senior lecturer in biomedical engineering, and Geoffrey Williamson, associate dean and professor of electrical and computer engineering, were recognized from Armour College of Engineering for the impact they make inside and outside of the classroom.
Dhar is the 2019 recipient of the Bauer Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. She joined Illinois Tech’s Department of Biomedical Engineering as a researcher and teaching lab coordinator in 2005, was appointed as adjunct faculty in 2010, and was named a senior lecturer in 2013. Her passion for educating the next generation of biomedical engineering professionals goes beyond classroom instruction as she has contributed to significant educational initiatives, including Armour’s R&D Summer Immersion Program. Specifically, Dhar has led undergraduate research projects along with hosting pre-engineering summer camps for high school students at the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Campus.
“I was born into a family of educators and am honored to carry on the teaching traditions that I’ve always valued,” says Dhar. “For me, my inspiration is my students. They are what keep me energized and the source for encouraging me to keep moving."
Dhar has received strong teaching evaluations from undergraduates who describe her passion for teaching and academic guidance as motivational. Dhar shares, “My success can only be measured based on the happiness of my students." She adds, “I’m thankful for the tremendous support from my colleagues and for my students who challenge me every day.”
Williamson, Duchossois Leadership Professor, received the 2019 Board of Trustees Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. He has been teaching in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for approximately 30 years. Williamson’s passion and dedication to teaching is reflected by his ongoing commitment to continuous improvement of engineering education. Over the past two years he has led efforts to revise the undergraduate program’s curriculum by including career electives that will provide students greater flexibility and exposure to interdisciplinary studies.
Williamson shares that he has always appreciated Illinois Tech’s investment in undergraduate education: “Here, I know many research-active faculty members who are quite talented as educators and when engaged in undergraduate instruction apply those talents rather intensively.” He adds, “Illinois Tech is blessed with exceptional faculty whose primary responsibilities lie in the realm of undergraduate teaching. The honor of being selected for this award is especially meaningful to me given that I have all these incredible individuals as colleagues.”
In his teaching, Williamson is constantly looking for ways to be more effective, which results in focusing on areas that could be improved. He notes, “In contrast, this award has me reflecting that some of this effort must have paid off and that at least some of what I’m doing works. Being recognized highlights the positive outcomes, and that feels good.”
Award recipients received a monetary award and plaques acknowledging their achievement at the Faculty Recognition and Awards Reception held in April.