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School Students Build Robot
Fund Hits New High
Teaching Assistants Win Awards For Excellence
The Engineering School has established on-line teacher evaluations
and the results are exceptional. The participation rate was almost
70% and valuable feedback was obtained that is being used to improve
teaching. The evaluations help form the basis for awards for both
faculty members and teaching assistants. The Columbia Engineering
School Alumni Association's committee to award annual Distinguished
Faculty Teaching Awards relies heavily on these evaluations, as
does Dean Zvi Galil, who last year instituted special awards for
excellence to Teaching Assistants.
"We wish to recognize the exceptional work done by some of
our TAs," said Dean Galil, "since the work of the TA is
crucially important in providing a first class education."
Based on the TA evaluations, Dean Galil gave 25 awards, consisting
of a certificate and a cash prize of $500, for the spring semester.
Four of the winners also won the award in the fall semester.
Dean Galil commended Profs. Yannis Tsividis of electrical engineering
and Karl Sigman of industrial engineering and operations research
for their own excellence in teaching as well as for having teaching
assistants that won the TA award. "This combination insures
that the students are the winners," said Dean Galil. Both professors
are past recipients of the Alumni Association's Distinguished Faculty
Teaching Awards. One of the most common praises for a winning TA
was responsiveness. Students appreciated the willingness of these
TAs to help. Said one student, "He was always available for
questions, even if it was not his office hours, and if you asked
him a question he could not answer on the spot, he would go back
and think about it and email you back as soon as he figured out
Another student wrote of his TA, "He loves helping students,
knows so many shortcuts and is wonderful at explaining difficult
problems. And better yet, he always wants to help." A third
TA was described as "one of the best I have ever had at my
time at Columbia. The professor makes everything seem so easy because
his knowledge of the subject matter is so comprehensive. Same goes
for the TA. They explain material very well."