Valocchi, Rood Receive Campus Excellence in Instruction Awards

5/5/2015 Kristina Shidlauski

Two CEE professors honored at annual Celebration of Teaching Excellence ceremony.

Written by Kristina Shidlauski

CEE at Illinois professors Albert J. Valocchi and Mark J. Rood were among those honored at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s recent Celebration of Teaching Excellence ceremony. The annual event is held to recognize faculty, staff members and graduate teaching assistants who have demonstrated excellence in teaching, advising and mentoring.

Valocchi received a Campus Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching. The award is given every year to up to two faculty members whose contributions to graduate or professional learning are consistently excellent, innovative and impactful, and extend beyond classroom instruction.

“Professor Valocchi is a world renowned scholar in subsurface science and engineering and one of the most outstanding teachers in CEE,” wrote professor Marcelo H. Garcia in the award nomination. “The reason why we nominated him over other outstanding scholars and instructors was that he has genuine concern and compassion for students, and through his teaching he has impacted our graduate students well beyond the classroom by preparing them well for successful professional careers.”

Rood received the award for Excellence in Guiding Undergraduate Research, which is given to a faculty member who has made a positive and sustained impact on student scholarship or intellectual development.

In his introductory remarks, professor Billie F. Spencer Jr., the Nathan M. and Anne M. Newmark Endowed Chair in Civil Engineering, noted that Rood has established a system of guiding undergraduates on their research projects that begins with an outline of their planned research and includes weekly meetings to increase their self-confidence and develop better communication skills.

“Professor Mark J. Rood embodies all of the personal and professional qualities that one expects find in a recipient of this award,” Spencer said. “I’m very proud to have him as a member of our faculty and as a colleague in Civil and Environmental Engineering.”

The awards were presented on April 30, 2015 at a reception held at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Valocchi and Rood each received a cash prize and plaque commemorating their award. Valocchi’s award also included a recurring salary increase.

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This story was published May 5, 2015.