Northwestern Engineering Names Winners of 2015 Cole-Higgins Awards

Todd Murphey and Igal Szleifer win this year’s awards

Two McCormick School of Engineering faculty members have received the school’s annual award for outstanding teaching and advising.

Todd Murphey, Charles Deering McCormick Professor in Teaching Excellence and associate professor of mechanical engineering, received the 2015 Cole-Higgins Award for Excellence in Teaching. Igal Szleifer, Christina Enroth-Cugell Professor of Biomedical Engineering and professor of chemistry, chemical and biological engineering, and medicine, received the Cole-Higgins Award for Excellence in Advising.

Todd MurpheyMurphey, whose research focuses on computational methods in dynamics and control, was lauded for his enthusiastic teaching approaches and emphasis on student learning.

“Professor Murphey is enthusiastic, clear, concise, and elaborate in his teaching,” said one student from his machine dynamics course. “I heard this course was supposed to be one of the hardest. With Professor Murphey’s teaching, this course was much more understandable than other courses that are said to be easier. That’s how good he is.”

“He really cares if you learn and wants to see his students do well,” another student said. “He’s also very approachable and that enhances the learning process.”

Igal SzleiferSzleifer, whose work is aimed at the fundamental understanding of the properties of complex molecular systems, was selected for encouraging his students to reflect on their long-term goals and for fostering learning and creativity in a positive environment.

“Professor Szleifer has been one of the best people for me in my four years at Northwestern,” said one student. “He makes me feel welcome and has given great advice for my education here as well as my plans after graduation.”

“I really enjoy having Professor Szleifer as my adviser because he helps me think about long-term goals,” said another student. “I never leave meetings feeling overwhelmed or confused.”