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Pitt ECE Assistant Professor Sam Dickerson to receive IEEE Education Society Mac E. Van Valkenburg Award

PITTSBURGH (Sept. 10, 2019) — In recognition of his innovative teaching methods and research, Samuel Dickerson, PhD, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Computer Engineering undergraduate program at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, will receive the IEEE Education Society’s 2019 Mac E. Van Valkenburg Award.

Faculty who are within the first 10 years after receiving their PhD and have at least two years of experience as a faculty member are eligible to be nominated. Alan George, PhD, professor and chair of the electrical and computer engineering department, nominated Dickerson for the award.

“Sam’s innovative thinking and outstanding contributions have shaped our department since he joined the faculty in 2015,” says George. “He played a major role in modernizing our curriculum and many of our core courses and, in my 32 years in academia, I have never known a faculty member with a greater passion and commitment for teaching.”

In his first four years as assistant professor, Dickerson has taught 10 different undergraduate courses, including some, like one on the Internet-of-Things, that he created from scratch. He has also authored 10 engineering education research publication and has been awarded four engineering education grants. Most significantly, a $200,000 National Science Foundation grant has allowed him to develop and assess a novel method of teaching computer-aided circuit simulation

Dickerson personally advises the over 300 undergraduate students in Computer Engineering, one of the School’s largest programs. He received the School’s Outstanding Educator Award and Board of Visitors Award this year in recognition of this work.

The IEEE Education Society committee chooses a winner based on a submitted statement of teaching philosophy and practice, up to five letters of support from students and colleagues, and data and comments from student evaluations. 

The award will be presented at the Awards Banquet during the IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, held in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Oct. 18, 2019. The award includes a $1,000 honorarium, paid registration to the conference, a commemorative plaque, and a certificate. 

Author: Maggie Pavlick

Contact: Maggie Pavlick