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Three engineers honored for teaching excellence

Hossein Ataei

Hossein Ataei of civil, materials, and environmental engineering, Betul Bilgin of chemical engineering, and Anthony Felder of the Richard and Loan Hill Department of Bioengineering were named Teaching Recognition Award recipients.

Ataei teaches undergraduate and graduate courses as a clinical associate professor and serves as the director of undergraduate studies and the construction engineering and management program. As a registered professional engineer in the United States and Canada, he brings real-world knowledge to the classroom with his industry experience in the fields of structural design of civil infrastructure systems, business administration of heavy civil projects, and project controls of large-scale civil infrastructure for large global engineering-procurement and construction firms.

“Professor Ataei is one of the best professors in the CME Department. His teaching methods are great,” wrote an anonymous student on a teaching evaluation. “He really teaches you everything you need, his lectures were never boring, and all the students would interact. He puts so much time and effort into teaching this class.”

Bilgin sitting with students in class

Bilgin, a clinical associate professor, teaches undergraduate courses in the chemical engineering department and leads the department’s senior design course. She received her PhD from Michigan State University and began teaching at UIC in 2014. Bilgin is focused on engineering education research and has been looking for opportunities to collaborate with colleagues from the social sciences to learn social science research methods. She recently received an NSF research initiation in engineering formation grant to integrate academic and industrial workplace competencies within engineering programs.

“Dr. Bilgin is extremely knowledgeable, approachable and friendly, yet very professional. Great class,” an anonymous student on a teaching evaluation said.

Felder headshot

Felder, a clinical assistant professor, teaches undergraduate courses in the bioengineering department, co-leads the department’s senior design course, helps run the clinical immersion program, and co-taught the Bioengineering Experience for Science Teachers (BEST) Program. He received both his undergraduate and PhD from UIC. Felder said he is focused on active learning in his classes and always is focused on trying to “empower his students and their learning through diverse educational experiences in preparation for their futures.”

“Dr. Felder was very kind and a great person to start off my introduction into BioE,” wrote an anonymous student on a teaching evaluation. “He demanded a lot out of us but was always there to guide us if we came to him with questions. I feel up for any challenge to come in the future and any uncertainties about BioE as a major are all gone.”

The Teaching Recognition Program honors faculty members across the university who have documented their teaching excellence over the past three academic years. The nominees are evaluated based on a support letter from the department head describing the candidate’s teaching excellence, contributions to the courses and curriculum, and high teaching evaluation scores—as well as the candidate’s other strengths in teaching, research, and service.