York professor receives prestigious 3M Teaching Fellowship

York University Professor Hamzeh Roumani has been awarded a 2009 3M National Teaching Fellowship.

The  prestigious 3M Fellowship recognizes excellence and leadership in Canadian university teaching; Roumani, a senior lecturer in York’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering, was officially named a recipient on Thursday.

Right: Professor Hamzeh Roumani

“The most meaningful reflection of Professor Roumani’s passion for teaching can be seen in the numerous positive comments we’ve received from his students – and the ongoing success of those students,” said Nick Cercone, dean of York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering.

“He devotes a great deal of effort to understanding how students learn and how course design can facilitate learning,” said Cercone. “His teaching is based on a commitment to engaging students in ‘learning by doing’, and helping them develop insights and skills that will serve them for a lifetime.”

Roumani’s innovations have included developing software that offers students immediate feedback on computer programs they are writing, and creating a programming environment that provides a step-by-step approach to learning Java, a complex computer language.

“His redesign of the introductory computer science courses has given students a crucial foundation for further study in the discipline. It has resulted in improved retention rates and better preparation for upper-level courses,” Cercone said.

Roumani came to York in 1992 as a part-time instructor, joined the full-time faculty in 1998 and in 2003 was promoted to senior lecturer. He is also the recipient of York’s University-Wide Teaching Award and Faculty of Science & Engineering Excellence in Teaching Award, the province-wide Leadership in Faculty Teaching Award from the Ontario government, and the Mildred Baptist Award.

The 3M National Teaching Fellowship was established in 1986 through the generosity of 3M Canada and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, allowing recognition of 238 Canadian professors from 45 different universities. From 35,000 eligible faculty, 38 nominations were adjudicated this year. Nominations for the fellowships are submitted by teachers on their own behalf, or by their colleagues.