Dr. Tracy Hammond receives the Distinguished Award for Teaching
Dr. Tracy Hammond, Director of the Institute for Engineering Education and Innovation (IEEI), professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, at Texas A&M University , Director of the and Chair of the Faculty of Engineering Education at Texas A&M University, and Director of the Sketch Recognition Lab was recently selected to receive the 2022 University Level Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching, from Texas A&M and The Association of Former Students. She was selected among a group of 24 outstanding faculty and staff members who were honored.
The Distinguished Achievement Awards have been presented since 1955 to over 1,000 faculty and staff members at Texas A&M who have exemplified the highest standards of excellence.
A variety of prestigious awards, which are generously provided by The Association of Former Students each year, are given to faculty, staff, and administrators of Texas A&M for accomplishments in teaching, research, individual student relationships, continuing education/extension, graduate mentoring, and administration.
Dr. Hammond teaches the senior capstone design course, and will be teaching a sketch recognition course for students in the Computer Science department this fall. Additionally, Dr. Hammond offers opportunities for research within her own lab as well.
In 2020, Dr. Hammond made several unique changes to her teaching of capstone including daily quizzes, daily chitchat, creative absence policies, appreciative agreements, inclusive classroom activities, Clifton Strengths, creative peer review interventions, and creative breakout room activities. Based on the student reviews she received, these changes went over incredibly well.
In 2021, she formed a cadre of capstone instructors along with their TA’s. The cadre met weekly, starting a month before class to align the syllabi as best as possible and share best practices. Throughout the semester they planned and discussed the success or non-success of various activities. This was incredibly impactful on all of her classes.
One important change that she made during both semesters of 2021 is that she interviewed each of her students individually, with the TA’s and asked them a series of questions ranging from their emotional and mental well-being, to feedback on how she could do better in class. These meetings were amazing both semesters, and allowed her to continue to make informed decisions about changes that she could make in the classroom to try and improve student learning.
“What’s unique about Dr. Hammond’s capstone class is that the learning process is not just about what’s in our project,” says Rosendo Narvaez, her capstone student. “Throughout the class I feel that I have learned important skills that can be applied to my academic, personal, and professional life. Along with my research project, we got to share innovative research ideas, convince other students to join our team, learn about each other’s strengths, and take part in several other activities I had never done in my past classes.”
Her Capstone TA, Adrita Anika says “Managing and communicating with students is fine for a teacher, but teaching students how to manage and communicate is greater. Dr. Hammond really cares for her students and ensures they learn those necessary skills, while being well aware of their strengths, and leveraging those in various aspects of life.”
The Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award is one of the highest University honors that a faculty member or staff member can receive. Rudder Theatre will host a ceremony on April 25 to present the 2022 Distinguished Achievement Awards.