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Computer Science prof wins teaching excellence award

September 23, 2022

Several students are showing sitting at tables and applauding.

A record number of professors and other instructors were nominated for this year’s UVic Engineering Students’ Society Teaching Excellence Award.

In the end, Bill Bird, an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Computer Science, won the 2022 ESS award, which was presented Sept. 16 during a celebration for all nominees in the lobby of the Engineering Lab Wing.

Bird was one of 15 nominated for the award, which is presented annually following the ESS elections.

“I would like to extend my warm congratulations to Dr. Bill Bird, who is the 2022 winner of the Engineering Student Society Excellence in Teaching Award,” ESS Vice President Internal Sarah Keegan said in a message to nominees.

“I thank you all for your incredible devotion and dedication to the faculty as a whole and specifically to the students of the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science," she said. "This year we had a record number of nominations so thank you all for your contributions that lead to an amazing past year of growth, connection, and learning.”

The nominees were:

  • Bill Bird (CSC)
  • Chris Eagle (MATH)
  • Anthony Estey (CSC)
  • Flavio Firmani (MECH)
  • Josh Giles (BME/MECH)
  • Addie Jordan
  • Rich Little (CSC)
  • Stephen Scully (MATH)
  • Gary Perkins (ECE)
  • Margaret-Anne Storey (SENG/CSC)
  • lamparithi Thirumarai-Chelvan (ECE)
  • Tom Thompson (MATH)
  • Tara Troy (CIVE)
  • Quinton Yong (CSC)
  • Michael Zastre (CSC)

Students who cast votes for the nominees often included messages explaining their support for a particular instructor, such as the following two for Bird: 

“An amazing, passionate prof who genuinely cares about his students. He wants us to succeed and as someone who had never taken a computer science course before, he made it easy to understand.”

“Making C and C++ both interesting and bearable, resulting in the nominator studying these in their free time. Also very funny guy, 10/10.”

Dean Mina Hoorfar, who attended the event, said that for people who love to teach, it’s incredibly energizing and inspiring to be working and learning alongside students.

“I want to congratulate each professor and instructor who was nominated. It’s truly the greatest achievement to be recognized by the people you are teaching,” said Hoorfar. “You are helping to prepare the next generation of innovators and leaders – and this has never been as important as it is today, as society faces some of its greatest challenges.”