Senior Lecturer Fawzi Emad Receives Provost's Excellence Award for Professional-Track Faculty
You’ve likely heard the saying “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” This statement rings true for Fawzi Emad, a senior lecturer in the University of Maryland’s Department of Computer Science.
“I'm lucky enough to be teaching material that I truly enjoy,” he said. “I actually look forward to giving lectures, and I can honestly say that I never get out of bed dreading the work day ahead.”
Last month, Emad’s passion for teaching was recognized by his peers when he received a 2020-2021 Provost's Excellence Award for Professional Track Faculty in recognition of his outstanding contributions and accomplishments in teaching. Emad is one of seven faculty members to receive the award this year.
The Provost's Excellence Awards for Professional Track Faculty were established in 2015 to recognize the contributions of professional-track faculty members on campus. Winners receive a letter of recognition from the provost and a $1,000 award for their consistently excellent contributions in teaching, research or service. Winners are selected by the previous year’s winners.
“This award means a lot to me,” Emad said. “It's very gratifying to be recognized for doing my job well, especially since teaching has been my primary focus for so many years. I'm honored and grateful.”
Emad’s teaching career began in 1992 when he accepted a teaching assistantship as a graduate student at the University of Maryland.
“I immediately discovered that I actually enjoyed teaching classes more than I enjoyed taking them,” he said. “I've been teaching at the University of Maryland ever since. Nine years with the math department and 20 years with computer science.”
Emad teaches mostly introductory computer science courses like CMSC 131 and 132: Object-Oriented Programming I and II, which are introductory programming courses that most computer science majors take. He also teaches CMSC 250: Discrete Structures, which teaches the basic math students need to succeed in the rest of the computer science curriculum.
"My favorite courses to teach are those in the introductory programming sequence, CMSC 131 and CMSC 132,” he said. “Although a handful of students in these courses end up being dissuaded from pursuing computer science, many more discover that not only are they capable of becoming highly skilled programmers, but also that programming can be an immensely satisfying creative outlet. I enjoy contributing to that moment of clarity for students who are still figuring out who they are and who they will become."
Emad stayed motivated throughout the years thanks to his true love of teaching and helping his students grow and learn.
“I hope that some of my enthusiasm conveys and that my students will become excited—or at least curious—about the material,” he said. “I want them to really see how useful these ideas can be and to begin thinking like computer scientists. I also hope that I am able to instill confidence in them. My classes are not so easy, and I hope that when students are able to succeed, they feel a sense of satisfaction and pride. Challenges build confidence.”
Emad feels fortunate he found a career that makes him feel like he never has to work a day in his life.
“I like to think that I'm good at what I do and that I'm genuinely helping students along their academic path,” he said. “I hope to continue teaching computer science at Maryland until I retire. I feel like I've found my true calling. I couldn't be happier.”
Written by Chelsea Torres
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