About the Award
The Award for Contributions to Graduate and Professional Education recognizes graduate and professional teachers for excellence in instruction; involvement of students in research and/or artistic activities, scholarship, and professional development; development of instructional programs; and advising and mentoring of students.
Victor Barocas received this award at the Distinguished Teaching Awards ceremony on April 17, 2018.
Each year, the Alumni Association is proud to join the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost in supporting the Distinguished Teaching Awards, which recognize the outstanding work of U of M educators. Recipients of the awards are inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.
About Victor Barocas
- Department of Biomedical Engineering
- College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Long ago, Victor Barocas resolved to be the person who knew how to say yes, even if it meant taking on an extra workload.
He has said yes to service as director of graduate studies for the biomedical engineering graduate program, as chair of its graduate admissions committee, and as a member of the graduate education councils for his college and the University, among other roles.
A colleague describes him as indefatigable in advising any student who needs him and in recruiting graduate students of progressively higher caliber. He is the driving force behind dramatic rises in the numbers of female students and students from underrepresented minorities.
“He goes beyond teaching technical skills and helps graduate students develop the soft skills necessary for future careers, such as public speaking, research collaboration, and the mentoring of undergraduates,” reports one former Ph.D. advisee.
Barocas also oversaw curriculum changes to help students get training they need without sacrificing rigor in their program, helped implement a rotation program for first-year students seeking the right advisors, and continually generates a positive environment for them. His question is always, “What is best for the student?”
“He has been a rock-star role model,” says another former advisee. “I feel absolutely privileged to have been one of his graduate students.”
“Diversity is not only about numbers. It is about recognizing that every student has different goals and faces different challenges, and working to help every student … overcome those challenges and achieve those goals.”
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