ECE’s Robert Kerestes Receives Provost’s Award for Diversity in the Curriculum
Robert Kerestes, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, has received the Provost’s Award for Diversity in the Curriculum.The award recognizes a faculty member’s efforts to integrate diversity and inclusion concepts into courses and curricula at Pitt.
Kerestes is honored for efforts incorporating teamwork, gamification, and diversity and inclusion best practices into his Electromagnetics course (ECE 1259), a core course for undergraduates in electrical engineering.
“After the year 2020, I felt that our students were fatigued from the many social injustices that had occurred, as well as the many months of quarantine and remote learning,” said Kerestes. “I felt that through teamwork and inclusivity, we could further the culture of unity that Pitt prides itself on. I added teamwork, gamification, and DEI best practices to my course to bring students together and have some fun while learning.”
Kerestes’ use of the Comprehensive Assessment of Team Member Effectiveness (CATME) tool was used to divide the students into diverse, balanced teams to work and study. The tool used student survey information to form teams that did not outnumber anyone based on gender, race or nontraditional student status. The course then utilized team-based quiz games to encourage these teams of students to bond and learn together.
The course material also intentionally sought to include engineers and physicists who come from underrepresented groups and explored why inclusivity is a key characteristic of a high-functioning team.
“We in the ECE department are thrilled to learn that Dr. Kerestes is being recognized with this prestigious award,” said Alan George, R.H. Mickle Endowed Chair and professor of electrical and computer engineering. “Bob is one of the most dedicated and innovative educators in our Swanson School of Engineering and is beloved by his students.”
Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd presented the awards on Jan. 18 to Kerestes and four additional faculty members from across the University.