Herbert A. Simon Award for Teaching Excellence
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh PA 15213-3891
(412)268-8525 . (412)268-5576 (fax)

Teaching Outlook

Victor Adamchik

Which came first, the student or the teacher? I believe that they are one and the same. Students are in many ways my teachers and I learn from them every day, making me a student in my own classroom. As a teacher, I hope to inspire students to explore theory beyond the textbook and to find understanding outside of traditional views. As Carl Gauss once said, "It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there which generates the greatest satisfaction."

I believe that effective teaching and rewarding learning are not confined to the classroom. Both are successful when they generate thinking beyond the typical problem sets. The first step on this path for educators is breaking through the communication barrier in order to convey the purpose of mathematical proofs as the foundation for computer science. Formal proofs are intimidating to newcomers and teaching the fundamental way of thinking about, and deriving them, is the biggest hurdle that we, as educators, must jump over.

I am searching for better ways to make my students understand the simple logic behind the formal mathematical language and the art it generates. I want to make a positive and lasting contribution to my students' future despite a language barrier, may it be Russian or another foreign language, such as Java or Mathematica.

It is an honor to receive this award and I want to thank the computer science community and foremost my students.


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