Dr. Hadas Ritz won ASEE Outstanding Teaching Award
Hadas Ritz, Senior Lecturer, Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Faculty Teaching Fellow, James McCormick Family Teaching Excellence Institute, won the 2020 American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) St. Lawrence section Outstanding Teaching Award.
The ASEE St. Lawrence Section is committed to excellence in the instruction of engineering and engineering technology students, and annually recognizes an outstanding teacher from the Section.
Ritz has an exceptional record in student, project team and faculty advising, curriculum development, journal publications, and conference participation. She currently serves as the academic advisor for 22 undergraduate students - and often has a line of students.
One of Ritz’s talents is taking complicated course material and delivering it in a straight-forward and digestible manner. One of her students notes, “Professor Ritz exhibits all the qualities of a highly motivated, talented educator. She has an excellent ability to quickly master difficult topics, and then turn around to present them in a logical straight-forward manner to her students.”
Her teaching interests include solid mechanics, engineering mathematics, finite element analysis, and introduction to mechanical engineering, but she has also been known to step in and teach courses outside her area in times of need.
“Her extremely strong teaching abilities, the breadth of her teaching, and her devotion to improving the student experience make her a great asset to the Sibley School. She hand crafts the entire course that she teaches to best suit the learning outcomes of the class. She is as excellent as they come,” said Professor Mark Campbell, former director of the Sibley School.
Recently, Ritz co-led the Sibley School in an Active Learning Initiative proposal to the University, where she helped to create a plan to revamp required junior level curriculum. Active learning is an approach to teaching that emphasizes student involvement and engagement. As a faculty fellow in the McCormick Teaching Excellence Institute, she mentors other faculty members and co-lead’s some of the new faculty workshops to help spread the word about active learning.
Ritz, who has implemented many active learning strategies in her own teaching, says, "anything you can change so that it’s not just [students] writing down what you say, those changes will help them learn more. Students are coming to us with different expectations. A lot of these changes in teaching are already happening in high schools. Students show up today ready to engage with the material and if we aren’t changing how we teach we’re missing an opportunity to be better."
Ritz cares deeply for her students and is dedicated to improving the student experience. She tries a variety of methods to ensure high student comprehension. For example, she recently created an innovative grading scheme. When grading exams during this pilot, she did not offer partial credit, but provided extensive opportunities to earn credit back through regrade requests that explain past conceptual errors. This reflection on past work was intended to help students better learn the material.
Hadas Ritz consistently goes above and beyond and strives to become a better educator - welcoming and responding to all course feedback effectively. Many students and alumni rank her the best teacher they’ve had at Cornell.