Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award
This year we had the privilege of reviewing nominations for 12 individuals representing seven different departments and programs. We would like to thank the students and faculty who submitted nominations and who paid tribute to the time and quality of work contributed by our graduate TAs. It is clear that we have many excellent teaching assistants who care deeply about student learning and who are effective in promoting it.
While there were many notable nominees, this year's winner, Saurabh Vilekar, of the Chemical Engineering Department, is remarkable for his "superb intellect and his motivation to deliver high-quality educational services to our students through extra office hours, help sessions and mentoring activities."
Students report that they appreciated his assistance and clear explanations when he TAed a particular course and were impressed by his meticulous grading of the many large problem sets and flowsheeting exercises. They also describe Saurabh as a person that they really enjoy talking to and have been reported to "camp outside his lab late into the night, seeking his help". Other students report that "Saurabh challenges us and never just gives us an answer".
Faculty comment on his "dedication, perseverance and good nature." Other faculty who have observed his interactions with students report, "it is hard to imagine another TA who is held in higher esteem, both by the faculty and the students."
Saurabh Vilekar deserves this award not only for the competence he shows in the subject matter but also because he has learned to use his competence and patience in such an effective and friendly manner that he has dramatically improved the learning experience for many students.
For his dedication to sound undergraduate teaching, for his demonstrated teaching abilities, and for extending himself well beyond the requirements of the position, we are proud to honor Saurabh Vilekar with this year's Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.