A Polytechnic professor has received Purdue’s highest undergraduate teaching honor.
Esteban Garcia Bravo, associate professor of computer graphics technology (CGT), earned a 2021 Charles B. Murphy Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching.
Providing outstanding instruction to students during the 2020-2021 academic year in a discipline that’s often reliant on in-person interaction and feedback was not an easy task, but Garcia knew that university professors and researchers must pivot, adapt and course-correct for the dynamics of CGT in an online-heavy environment.
“Teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic has been very challenging, since I am not able to spend as much time in the classroom to interact physically,” Garcia said. “But these last two semesters have shown me that physical presence is not necessary. What is necessary is that I am truly mentally present when I communicate with students.”
It wasn’t a first-time adaptation for Garcia, who has been offering online classes since 2014. When the pandemic first hit, he pursued other ways to connect with students, expanding use of digital apps such as Discord or Miro and going “wherever students live digitally.”
“One thing that helped me feel more connected with students is giving them more quality, individualized feedback and providing many ways of accessing me or the content synchronously and asynchronously,” said Garcia. “You have to be able to talk and collaborate with them in a new way.”
Garcia joins other Polytechnic professors as recent recipients of Purdue’s top teaching award. Dawn Laux, clinical associate professor of computer and information technology, and Mark French, professor of mechanical engineering technology, received the Murphy Award in 2019 and 2018, respectively.
- Computer graphics technology professor views being a teacher as an ‘act of love, generosity’ (Purdue News)
- Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching and Exceptional Early Teaching Award (Office of the Provost)
- Laux receives Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award
- French receives Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award