Yampolskiy Top Faculty Favorite for Third Time
February 27, 2020
Every year, students submit nominations for University of Louisville’s annual list of Faculty Favorites, a program that began in 2005. There are hundreds of nominees, but just four are chosen as Top Faculty. For a third time, one of the Top Faculty Favorites was Dr. Roman Yampolskiy, an associate professor in Speed School of Engineering.
He came to Speed School in 2008, and has authored more than 100 publications including multiple journal articles and books. He holds a PhD in Computer Science and Engineering, was a fellow of the National Science Foundation, and worked at the University of London.
Reports about his work have attracted international attention and have been translated into many languages including Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romanian, and Spanish. Among his many accolades is the recent 2019 Kentucky Academy of Science “Excellence in Science Education and Outreach Award.”
Yampolskiy’s main areas of interest are artificial intelligence safety and security, genetic algorithms, and games.
The professor said his philosophy of teaching is simple, based on the Socratic Method. He asks a lot of questions of his students and gives them answers if they don’t have them. “I believe in honest, direct communication. I try to treat students the way I would want my department chair to treat me – an equal relationship. If they feel the professor is a person, not some abstract creature, they can relate better.”
Graduate student Glory Adebayo, CSE, who started working with Yampolskiy in spring 2019, said the professor is willing to engage students on the level they understand. “Even before he was my supervisor for my PhD, he was willing to have lots of discussions with me and help me understand what it means to write a dissertation, a thesis,” said Adebayo.
Yampolskiy’s subdomain of study in Artificial Intelligence is one that is sometimes hard to explain, said Adebayo. “It’s sort of an imagined field and people don’t really understand what it’s about. But he has a way of making really complex things sound interesting and funny,” he said. It makes it easier to relate to it,” he said.
Yampolskiy said his greatest gratification from teaching is watching a student’s progression.
“To see students go from not knowing anything about the subject to becoming professionals, experts, and writing publishable papers – that’s pretty cool,” he said.
“I was happy to be honored again with the Top Faculty Favorite,” said Yampolskiy. “It’s a unique award because it’s not from faculty or a committee, but directly from students voting, so it means a lot. I’ve been very fortunate to win it three times now – I must be doing something right.”