Recognizing Excellence in Teaching

Recognizing Excellence in Teaching: Prof. McDonnell Earns CEAS Award

Kevin McDonnell has been selected for the 2021 College of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ (CEAS) Excellence in Teaching Award. This honor acknowledges his success in adapting effective teaching methods for synchronous and asynchronous online learning.

Samir Das, department chair in the Department of Computer Science said, "This award recognizes Kevin's superior teaching, both in and out of the classroom, as well as his innovation and ability to adapt his teaching modality under unique and challenging circumstances."

McDonnell, professor of practice and undergraduate program director, has been with the department since 2015, when he quickly began working on offering online learning options to students. Being able to quickly adapt in the last two years was enabled by McDonnell’s involvement in the Stony Brook Online Learning Development Initiative (S-BOLD). Through this initiative he was part of a team that developed a submission and automatic testing Web system for computer science programming assignments. The system is comprised of a comprehensive online programming lab learning environment where students can receive immediate feedback on their code.

Teaching 100-level and 200-level computer science courses for CS majors and non-majors allows McDonnell to focus on a range of topics, from computer programming to discrete mathematics. He has earned high praise from students for his teaching style and leadership even though he has high expectations. In course evaluations, students remark on the academic rigor of his classes, and laud his teaching ability and enthusiasm for teaching. As an alum of the department – he earned his PhD in computer science in 2003 – McDonnell knows what it takes to be successful at the university, and he has a genuine interest in their personal and professional growth.

While the award recognizes his dedication to his students and teaching as a whole, McDonnell believes that this award is also a nod to the department’s flexibility and proactive approach. “The Department of Computer Science is agile and able to respond to a myriad of last-minute challenges. I am happy to be a part of department that worked on a number of solutions to ensure student learning was not compromised during the pandemic.”

McDonnell also received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2021.

Congratulations to Professor McDonnell on his continued success and for this recognition from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.