The 2017 University of Utah College of Engineering staff, teaching and service awards were handed out Aug. 18 during the annual fall faculty meeting. Congratulations to all of the recipients of this year’s awards.

IMG_5905cOutstanding Teacher — James Sutherland, associate professor, Chemical Engineering

Like the most valuable chemical compositions, the best teachers are made up of the right amounts of what’s important. In this case, it’s knowledge, empathy, respect, communication skills and an innate ability to hold your attention. Chemical engineering associate professor James Sutherland is the ultimate combination of all of those elements.

James cares about student learning. He’s extremely well organized, a master of the material, and he’s a tough instructor who expects the most from his students. But he’s also fair, understanding and motivating.

His graduating seniors have already chosen him for two other teaching awards. The Class of 2016 gave him the best lecturer award, and the Class of 2017 honored him with the outstanding faculty award. Here’s what a couple of his students have had to say about him:

“James Sutherland is a name that carries weight among the students in the department of chemical engineering,” said one. “The time and effort he puts into creating structured and effective courses is evident. Students leave his class with a real knowledge of the course material and a genuine sense of accomplishment.”

“[His] classes transformed the way I think, my approach to problem-solving and my relationship with hard things,” said another. “His challenges were realistic and practical but not without encouragement and growth. I am a better engineer, student, and person because of [his classes].”

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