Current Award Winner

Dr. Kumar Singh

Dr. DJ Rao

Arthur Olson Generational Outstanding Teaching Excellence Award

Professor DJ Rao exemplifies the ideal Miami teacher. Students repeatedly report that Dr. Rao is one of their favorite professors because of his organization, thoroughness, rigor, and sense of humor. Students value the important and practical knowledge and skills that they gain from his courses. Dr. Rao often takes extra steps to integrate current and interesting topics into his assignments. He has developed assignments that include geographical mapping, music, or bioinformatics, to name a few. This extra effort can make an assignment come alive for students and allow them to be fully engaged with the material. Students appreciate his efforts. Dr. Rao’s student evaluations are among the very highest in the College of Engineering and Computing and he is frequently cited by graduating seniors as a CSE professor having an important impact on their academic development.

In addition to outstanding traditional classroom teaching, Dr. Rao has worked effectively with students on an individual basis. This important form of teaching can help students reach individualized goals that are not typically met within a regular classroom. Toward this end, Dr. Rao has mentored many University Summer Scholars, actively advises master’s students, and has helped students become authors on professional, peer-reviewed, publications.

Dr. Rao’s classroom expertise has also positively affected the larger community of college teaching. He has authored several scholarly papers addressing teaching of computer science in colleges. He has produced YouTube videos and coding infrastructure that have been used in other professor’s courses. The ability to create content and materials that transcend a single classroom is a characteristic of a master teacher.

Dr. Rao continually strives to improve his teaching and has sought the advice of his colleagues. He has asked more senior faculty members to attend his classes, review his exams and his graded materials. Dr. Bachmann performed one such review and stated "In summary, I believe that students who have Dr. Rao as an instructor are extremely fortunate.... He demands technical competence as indicated by the thoroughness of his exams, but he makes learning fun and enjoyable for the students." Dr. Karro: "In conclusion, this course, created by Professor Rao, is an excellent course and being taught in an expert fashion. He has clearly put a huge amount of time into development, resulting in a very clear, comprehensive set of assignments."

Expert-level classroom instruction, stellar one-on-one teaching, innovative assignments, contributions to the scholarship of teaching, and glowing recognition from his colleagues, make Dr. Rao the winner of the 2018 Arthur Olson Generational Teaching Excellence Award.