Date Posted: 10/14/2022

Eight faculty members, including Michael Clarkson, senior lecturer in computer science in the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, have been selected to receive Stephen H. Weiss Awards honoring excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring, President Martha E. Pollack announced Oct. 14.

“I’m delighted to recognize our outstanding faculty recipients of this year’s Weiss Awards for their undergraduate teaching,” Pollack said. “The awards highlight the pinnacle of exceptional teaching, which is a mainstay of what makes Cornell extraordinary.”

Clarkson received the Provost’s Teaching Fellowship Award. He routinely receives “extraordinarily high” student evaluations while teaching between 700 and 1,000 students per year. He has taught levels from freshmen to graduate courses and has developed two new courses and made major contributions to others. As a teaching fellow, he improves teaching effectiveness across the college. And he is dedicated to diversifying the STEM community, by assisting Cornell Tech with broadening its applicant pool.

In 2021, students chose Clarkson out of 350 faculty members and lecturers in the College of Engineering as the winner of the Cornell University Tau Beta Pi Professor of the Year Award. “His knowledge of the field, his passion for teaching, his caring nature, his ability to listen and respond, his ability to inspire – these great qualities make him unique,” one nominator wrote.

Three awards are named in honor of the late Stephen H. Weiss ’57, who chaired the Cornell Board of Trustees from 1989-97. Weiss conceived of the Presidential Fellowship Award, first bestowed in 1992, to recognize a sustained record of commitment to undergraduate education. The board in 2016 introduced the Junior Fellowship Award, recognizing early-career tenured faculty, and the Provost’s Teaching Fellowship Award, honoring nontenured faculty members.

A selection committee of six faculty members and three students (two graduate students and one undergraduate) recommended this year’s recipients after reviewing 20 nominations detailing the instructors’ skill and dedication inside and outside the classroom, based on course evaluations and letters from students and faculty or staff.

Written by Susan Kelley for the Cornell Chronicle