John R. Kender, associate professor of computer science, has been honored with the 1996 Great Teacher Award given by the Society of Columbia Graduates. He shares the award with George G. Stade, professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia College.
The Society established the Great Teacher Awards in 1949 to honor exceptional teachers in the faculties of Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Two awards are made each year, one to a College and one to a SEAS faculty member. Professor Kender joins such illustrious past SEAS faculty members as Edwin H. Armstrong, Dean James Kip Finch, Raymond D. Mindlin, Frank H. Lee, and Ralph J. Schwarz.
What I recall from those teachers that I considered the best, said Professor Kender, was that they presented a distinctly personal point of view of the subject and were always saying, in effect, ‘Now, look at THIS, isnt it neat? He characterized this as more reflections of the person, rather than of the subject or any technique: a sense of involvement with the students.
For his ability to engender the feeling of isnt it neat? to his students, Professor Kender was honored at the Society of Columbia Graduates dinner held on October 17 at Faculty House. Pro- fessor Kender received a B.S. in mathematics from the University of Detroit, M.S. in mathematics from University of Michigan, and Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie-Mellon University. He has been at Columbias SEAS Department of Computer Science since 1984.
He was a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator and received both the AT&T Bell Laboratories Presidential Young Investigator Matching Award and the Ford Motor Company Presidential Young Investigator Matching Award. He has been an invited participant at the National Science Foundation Symposium on Undergraduate Education; an invited panelist, and the only computer scientist, at the National Science Foundation Workshop on the Future of Undergraduate Science Education; andan invited participant in the Rank Prize Funds International Conference on Physical and Biological Processing of Images in London.
Dr. Kender served the School as vice dean from 1992 to 1994, during which time he initiated and conducted teaching evaluations for SEAS faculty.
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