Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2006

Faculty Award winner

Lei Zhao

 College of Engineering and Computer Science

 Civil and Environmental Engineering

Enthusiasm is the key to the success of an engineering educator. My enthusiasm in engineering and teaching, which propelled me through many years of hard work in pursuit of knowledge and excellence, enables me to instill the same enthusiasm in my students and guide them towards a rewarding career in engineering. Good teaching can influence the life of many young students. There’s no other job that is more emotionally rewarding than teaching.

The importance of personal attention

I enjoy talking to my students, both in and after classes. In classes, I frequently ask questions and encourage questions from students. I always tell the students that “if you have a question, chances are there are other students who have the same question” and “there is no stupid question.” Outside of the classroom, I make every effort to make the students feel welcome at my office, even outside my announced office hours.

The balance between teaching and research