Jeffery Hurley Receives Georgia Tech Teaching Award

Jeffery (Jeff) Hurley, a senior research scientist in the Electronic Systems Laboratory (ELSYS) at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), is educating the future generation of electrical and computer engineers. Since 2019, Hurley has taught multiple courses within the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). He approaches each class with joy and enthusiasm, contributing to his students’ enjoyment and learning experience.

Each year, the Georgia Tech chapter of Eta Kappa Nu, an honor society for electrical and computer engineering, presents two professors with awards based on a majority vote from the ECE senior class.

This year, the senior class selected Hurley as the 2021 recipient of the Richard M. Bass/Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Junior Teacher Award. Alongside his colleague Linda Wills, who received the W. Marshall Leach/Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Senior Teacher Award, Hurley received his award at the Eta Kappa Nu Spring Picnic on April 16.

A few years ago, the Georgia Tech ECE department was searching for someone to teach an introductory software engineering class. Hurley responded to the opportunity and taught ECE 2036 Engineering Software Design in spring 2019. During the fall semesters of 2019 and 2020, he expanded to ECE 4122 Advanced Programming Techniques for Engineering Applications and ECE 6122 Advanced Programming Techniques. Hurley enjoys teaching and helping when a need arises.

It has been a very positive experience,” Hurley said. “After teaching for several years in the ECE department, I have a general schedule of classes that I normally teach each semester, so it is fairly easy for me to plan, balancing working at GTRI with teaching at Tech.”

Hurley’s passion for the subject and real-world experience as a GTRI researcher creates a dynamic classroom experience. He also intentionally lays the ground for an open, caring environment.

“I believe that one of the most important parts of creating an open and caring classroom is the instructor’s general attitude toward the students,” Hurley said. “Instructors always need to remember that even though the material is not new to them, it is most likely new to their students.”

While it is important to encourage questions, Hurley emphasized that it is vital to take every question seriously when it is asked to increase the trust between students and professors.

Hurley remains dedicated to continuous learning and improvement, not just for his students but also for himself. As such, Hurley takes each semester as a new opportunity to improve his teaching style and the course material. He also wants his students to feel comfortable asking for help and contributing to the success of the class.

Hurley expresses his gratitude for the leadership within Georgia Tech and GTRI for the opportunity to teach the rising generation of engineers.

“In GTRI, I would like to thank my branch head, Clint Johnson, and my division chief, Linda Viney. They have both been very supportive of my teaching efforts,” Hurley said. “In the ECE department, I would like to thank Mary Ann Weitnauer, a professor and senior associate chair, for all of her guidance and assistance with teaching at Tech.”

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Writer: Katrina Heitz

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