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UC Berkeley Press Release

Professor receives National Science Foundation's top teaching award

– Alice M. Agogino, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, was recognized today (Monday, May 24) by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with the Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars, the foundation's highest honor for teaching and research excellence.

Agogino is one of eight people to receive the 2004 award, which is worth about $300,000 to each scholar over the next four years.

The awards represent "NSF's finest examples of accomplishments by scientists and engineers whose roles as educators and mentors are as important as the ground-breaking research results they achieve," according to a statement issued by the funding agency. "The grants allow the scholars to work on new projects, or continue present work in new ways that benefit their individual fields and the students they support."

"These scholars have a special distinction in that they influence entire academic cultures. They make students major participants in the process of discovery. They also promote activities that expand the education process beyond the boundaries of the university into local schools and communities," said the NSF's acting director, Arden L. Bement, Jr. "They are true leaders in both the scientific and academic realms. Their pioneering research, already well recognized, is equaled, and sometimes surpassed, by a rare talent and commitment to communicate and teach knowledge."

Agogino, the Roscoe and Elizabeth Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering, is an expert in computational design, diagnostics and monitoring systems. "But it's her multimedia case studies of engineering design and two digital libraries she developed to promulgate science and technology courseware that have reached and encouraged students at all levels," the NSF said in its statement.

Agogino directs the Berkeley Expert Systems Technology (BEST) Laboratory, the Berkeley Instructional Technology Studio (BITS) and the BITS Multimedia Classroom, and continues as principal investigator for the National Engineering Education Delivery System (NEEDS) and the Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology Education (SMETE) Open Federation digital libraries of courseware in science, mathematics, engineering and technology.

She was one of three engineers honored by the NSF. The others are Susan E. Powers of Clarkson University in New York and David F. Ollis of North Carolina State University. Other awardees were Brown University mathematician Thomas F. Banchoff; Kansas State University physicist Dean A. Zollman; neuroscientist Julio J. Ramirez from Davidson College in North Carolina; Walter C. Oechel, an earth systems scientist from San Diego State University; and Kenneth G. Tobin, an urban educator from the City University of New York Graduate Center.

The recipients will be honored in a ceremony at the National Academy of Sciences on June 2.

The NSF has made Distinguished Teaching Scholars awards to 27 scholars since the program began four years ago. The NSF is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5.58 billion. Agency funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions.

NOTE: For more information on the Distinguished Teaching Scholars program, 2004 awardees, and awards ceremony, see http://www.ehr.nsf.gov/ehr/DUE/programs/dts/

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