Award Winners

Winners and Citations - the Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching

USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching
Presented at the 35th Annual Academic Honors Convocation
April 12, 2016

Susan L. Forsburg & C.-C. Jay Kuo

Susan L. Forsburg
Professor of Biological Sciences
USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Susan L. Forsburg is a superlative educator and scientist whose exceptional commitment to her work elicits tremendous passion and dedication from her students. As a distinguished researcher, Professor Forsburg values the process of building upon established knowledge, and one of the hallmarks of her teaching style is to expose young scholars to primary literature, and instill an appreciation of the cumulative nature of scientific understanding. At the same time, she encourages engaged critical thinking and rigorous evaluation of established methodologies and hypothesis testing. Professor Forsburg fosters a balanced view of learning and discovery that respects the intellectual foundations of her field, but remains open to revisiting those foundations as contexts and technology change.

There is no shortage of praise for Professor Forsburg among her students, who consistently laud her "passionate" and "inspiring" style, and her ability to spark their appreciation for rigorous and thorough experimentation. She has been a motivating force for many budding researchers, and took a leading role in developing USC’s progressive master’s degree program in molecular genetics and biochemistry. During her remarkable career, Professor Forsburg has guided and inspired countless undergraduate and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral associates, and has been a steadfast advocate for increasing career opportunities and participation in scientific inquiry for women and minority groups. The American Society for Microbiology recognized her stellar work in this arena with its Alice M. Evans Award.

C.-C. Jay Kuo

Dean’s Professor of Electrical Engineering-Systems,
Computer Science, and Mathematics
USC Viterbi School of Engineering Professor

C.-C. Jay Kuo evinces all of the hallmarks of a truly exceptional teacher—an enlivening passion for his work, a genuine interest in seeing others succeed, and a powerful rapport with his students. His friendly, enthusiastic teaching style, and deep knowledge of signal, media, and information processing theory and applications, make his courses some of the most popular in the electrical engineering program. He regularly draws more than 100 graduate students for these courses, usually in multiple sections.

Professor Kuo emphasizes problem solving through hands‐on experience, enabling his students to combine mathematical theory and computational algorithms with real-world applications. His extraordinary reputation is tantamount to his many achievements as a scholar and researcher. He is the author or co‐author of more than 1,000 published papers and a dozen books.

During his 25 years as a member of the USC faculty, Professor Kuo has advised 125 Ph.D. students and supervised more than two dozen post‐doctoral fellows, ranking him first among the top 50 advisors in the Mathematics Genealogy Project, which compiles information on prominent mathematicians across the world. Several former students have earned important research or leadership positions in academia and the engineering industries. Their successes speak volumes about the long-lasting and powerful impact of Professor Kuo’s superb mentorship.

For his unparalleled expertise in the field of engineering, and the profound wisdom and generosity he brings to his work as an educator, the University of Southern California is proud to honor Professor C.-C. Jay Kuo with its Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching.