As part of the University of Utah’s new campaign to transform the undergraduate experience, the offices of Undergraduate Studies and Student Affairs have established the Transforming U: Beacons of Excellence Award to recognize and celebrate examples of “best practices” on the University of Utah campus, whether by individuals, programs, centers, or projects. Six awards—given annually— will recognize excellence in creating and offering a transformational experience to undergraduate students.

This first year, the award attracted more than 270 nominations from students, faculty, staff and community members. Martha Bradley, senior associate vice president for academic affairs, charged the Harvesting Best Practices Committee with developing excellence criteria and selecting award recipients. They will be honored at a ceremony on Oct. 31, hosted by David Pershing, president of the University of Utah; Barb Snyder, vice president for student affairs, and Bradley. The event will take place in the University Union Ballroom from noon to 1:30 p.m.

The six recipients include Matt Bradley (posthumously), a professor in the Honors College; Ganesh Gopalakrishnan, a professor in the College of Engineering; Hester Henderson, founder of the UFIT Program, College of Health; Mark Nielsen, a professor of anatomy and the Human Anatomy Lab, College of Science; the Native American Research Internship Program, School of Medicine; and the University of Utah fraternity and sorority community, Dean of Students Office.

Ganesh Gopalakrishnan, Formal Analysis of Concurrency Group, College of Engineering

Ganesh Gopalakrishnan is a professor in the School of Computing, principal investigator for the Formal Analysis for Concurrency Group, and director of the Center for Parallel Computing, which he was instrumental in founding in 2009. “Professor Gopalakrishnan sets a perfect precedent for both teaching and research as a member of the School of Computing,” writes one of Ganesh Gopalakrishnan’s students. “His cheerful attitude and good humor are contagious—he is rarely seen without a smile.” Gopalakrishnan personifies what it means to be a professor at the U. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses, introducing students to the latest cutting-edge research in science and engineering. Students find his classes energizing and rewarding. Gopalakrishnan’s approach to student mentoring is modeled after the advice of the late Randy Pausch, a noted computer science professor and author of “The Last Lecture”—that of backing students until they have a chance to realize their true potential.

Read more at the U of U News Center