Dr. Inanc, ECE Professor, Wins Distinguished Teaching Professor Award
May 31, 2022
By Holly Hinson
Dr. Tamer Inanc, Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, has garnered a Distinguished Teaching Professor Award as one of the University-wide Presidential Excellence Awards for 2022. Every year, the University honors faculty who bring distinction to the university through their commitment to the areas of service, teaching, and outstanding scholarship, research, and creative activity.
Inanc, who joined the University of Louisville in 2004, received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir, Turkey in 1991. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Penn State University in 1994 and 2002, respectively. He was a postdoctoral scholar at Control and Dynamical Systems Department at Caltech, Pasadena, CA between 2002 and 2004.
At Speed School, Inanc has been honored numerous times for teaching, including an Innovation in Technology Award for Teaching and Learning from the Delphi Center (2008), four consecutive years as a Faculty Favorite (2017-2020) and a Speed School Excellence in Teaching Award (2021).
Inanc said he was particularly honored with this University-wide Distinguished Teaching Professor Award. “I was very happy because I think this is one of the highest honors that the university gives in respect to teaching, and it shows that the university values teaching,” he said.
Inanc teaches multiple classes every year, including Fundamentals of Autonomous Robots, which he developed himself in 2005. This course ends its semester with an open-to-the public, student-led robotics competition, which attracts 100-150 middle and high school students.
“I enjoy that connection between students and faculty in the classroom, and I put a lot of time and effort in my lectures, even if it’s the same course I’m teaching year after year,” said Inanc. “I put myself in place of the student and ask, ‘Is this explanation good enough, or how can I explain better?”
One way Inanc said he engages with students in the classroom is from time to time he makes a mistake on the board intentionally. “I say to them, ‘When I’m proving this concept I’m going to make a mistake. Let’s see who can find it, and I realize they are watching more carefully.”
In Inanc’s philosophy of teaching, the bottom line is that respect for the student is key.
“I really believe that, as faculty, if a student comes to my classroom for one hour, 15 minutes or 55 minutes, I feel personally responsible to do a really good job and deliver an effective and also enjoyable lecture to the student.”
The professor said it is gratifying when a concept clicks for a student. “Maybe I explained it and initially they don’t get it, but then I can see in the student’s eyes once they understand, and that’s a very nice moment.”
Inanc said he believes he is in excellent company for quality instruction. “I know there are a lot of faculty in Speed School that are very good – I’m just one of them,” he said. “I was lucky to be selected for this award.”