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Mark Valenzuela Named UE's Outstanding Teacher of the Year

Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mark Valenzuela, associate professor of civil engineering, has been named the University of Evansville’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year for 2012-13. He is the first UE faculty member to win this prestigious honor two times.

The award, presented annually by the UE Alumni Association, was announced today at the Ford Center during the University’s 155th Commencement ceremony.

Valenzuela, known as “Dr. Mark” by his students, first received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year award in 2003. A decade later, thanks to high marks from his students and colleagues, he has earned the award once again.

“Dr. Mark uses a very detailed and interactive teaching style in the classroom by coming to class prepared with real-life examples, hands-on activities, and ideas on how to involve his students,” wrote one student nominator. “Outside of the classroom, Dr. Mark’s door is always open. He is willing to take as much time as necessary to help students understand class material, and it shows when it is time to take exams. Students feel as if they have truly learned the material, not just memorized.”

“Dr. Mark’s influence on students is impressive,” one student said. “He ensures that his students make ethical decisions and treat one another with respect. I have witnessed many situations in which students are having trouble cooperating in groups, and he helps them overcome differences and complete projects.”

“Mark Valenzuela is without a doubt one of the best professors as well as one of the best human beings I have hired,” said Phil Gerhart, dean of UE’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. “For the past 29 years, I have had the great blessing of working with and leading an extremely talented, collegial, and principled group of faculty. Dr. Mark Valenzuela is outstanding among them.”

In addition to his teaching duties, Valenzuela serves as the faculty advisor for Chi Epsilon, the national civil engineering honor society; the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); and the Concrete Canoe team, which has qualified for nationals four times in the last five years. Under his leadership, in 2011, UE became the smallest school ever to host the ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition. Valenzuela is also the vice president of the Southwest Indiana branch of ASCE and a registered professional engineer in the state of Indiana.

In addition to the Outstanding Teacher of the Year award, his previous teaching awards include the Dean’s Teaching Award for the College of Engineering and Computer Science (2003 and 2013), a UE Global Scholar award (2008), and the ExCEED New Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (2002).

Valenzuela holds a PhD and Master of Science in structural engineering from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Engineering in civil and environmental engineering from Vanderbilt University. He came to UE in 1999 and received tenure and promotion to associate professor in 2005.

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