The College of Science and Mathematics is pleased to announce two outstanding faculty members recently honored at the 2013 Celebrating Excellence Awards Ceremony in April.
Jennifer Kay, Professor of Computer Science, received the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award – the highest teaching honors at the University. This award recognizes a full-time, permanent faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding teaching and leadership and is funded by the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation which recognizes outstanding teaching and leadership.
Kay teaches courses across Rowan’s Computer Science curriculum, from general education and honors classes for non-majors, to classes at all levels of the B.S. and M.S. in computer science. She has incorporated several novel approaches to teaching introductory programming to non-majors. In one general education class she introduces students to programming using a multi-media context, teaching them to write their own tools that perform Photoshop-like techniques on images as well as similar techniques to manipulate sound files. In another, she teaches the same introductory programming concepts in a completely different context – robot programming.
“I believe that a basic level of computational literacy is essential for all students’ success, regardless of major,” said Kay. “While most Rowan graduates probably won’t be writing their own programs after they graduate, many of them will be interacting with those who do. A fundamentalunderstanding of how computers work will give our graduates the power to better specify their needs, and the confidence to simply ask ‘why not’ when told ‘the computer can’t do that.’”
Kay’s teaching extends beyond Rowan’s borders. She co-chair’s Rowan’s annual FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Qualifier that brings more than 100 middle school students to Rowan every year to show off their robotprogramming skills. “The amazing thing about FLL is that in addition to learning programming and computational thinking, students are also introduced more broadly to other areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.” Kay has also received funding from Google to support highly successful robot programming workshops for middle and high school teachers.
Kay earned both a M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a B.A. in Mathematics and a B.S.E. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
Astronomy Professor David Klassen from the Department of Physics and Astronomy received the Barnes Award, honoring the memory of Joseph Barnes, who served the University for 23 years as a professional staff member and tenured librarian. This award is given to faculty or professional staff “who has provided consistent, extraordinary, and longstanding contributions” to the University.
“It is an honor to be recognized with this award, especially as I recall the names of all the previous recipients. It’s a distinguished group and I’m proud to be counted among them,” said Klassen. “Service is usually defined as things done for the benefit of others, and helping out where and when I can is something I enjoy. That others appreciated that work is really its own reward, so to be recognized in this way is really just icing on the cake,” he continued.
Since arriving at Rowan in 1997, Klassen’s research has been focused on planetary science and studies clouds on Mars using near-infraredimaging spectroscopy. Among his data are images from the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility and the CRISM instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Klassen’s teaching covers mainly introductory courses and hethoroughly enjoys the Intro Thermodynamics class. He also taught the Exploration of the Solar System.
After receiving a B.S. in Astrophysics and B Math from the University of Minnesota, Klassen went on to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Wyoming.