Carnegie Mellon University
April 23, 2020

Lee Honored for Teaching Excellence

By Josh Quicksall

The School of Computer Science has named ISR faculty, Terry Lee, winner of the 2020 Joel and Ruth Spira Excellence in Teaching Award.

The Spira Award is presented to an SCS faculty member in recognition of major accomplishments and outstanding qualities and strengths in teaching and for excellence in the classroom. The award, established in 2014, is generously sponsored by Ruth and Joel Spira, cofounders of the Lutron Electronics Company.

Lee, a faculty member since 2010, was noted for his stalwart commitment to ISR’s high level of teaching excellence. “Our students are extremely bright and hard working and it is a constant challenge to provide the level of excellence they deserve” ISR Director, Jim Herbsleb, notes. “Terry exemplifies the level of performance we all aspire to. He embodies that rare combination of technical depth, engaging style, genuine concern, and meticulous preparation that makes for a truly extraordinary educator.”

And Lee’s students couldn’t agree more. Pointing to his course on Data Structures, one student called out Lee’s passion, mastery of the subject, and unshakeable commitment to his students’ learning. "I’ve had fantastic teachers over the years, but professor Lee’s mode of instruction, depth of engagement, lifelong dedication to the art of programming, and his innate 'inspirational energy' puts him in a league of his own.”

For his part, Lee is humbled by the honor but, also, motivated to improve even further. “I have always thought teaching is a work of heart and I am overjoyed by the fact that the committee noted my empathy for students and care for quality,” he explains. “As soon as I get back to my office after each lecture, I always spend some time evaluating myself. This recognition is not only an honor but another opportunity to reflect on my teaching and my duty to put my students first and keep improving my courses.”