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Each year, the Academic Senate presents Distinguished Faculty Awards to recognize those who have brought distinction to UCI through their research, teaching, mentorship or service. Two faculty members from the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) received awards for the 2021-22 academic year: Sandy Irani received the Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching, and Sameer Singh received the Distinguished Early-Career Faculty Award for Research.

“These awards are conferred by the Academic Senate to recognize sustained and distinguished contributions to teaching and research,” says ICS Dean Marios Papaefthymiou. “They are among the most prestigious awards University of California faculty members can receive from their colleagues.”

Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching
Established in 1986, the Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching recognizes members of the Academic Senate at the rank of associate professor or above “who have made extraordinary contributions to the educational mission of the campus through distinguished teaching, including development of novel teaching and learning approaches, or have otherwise been remarkably effective in making the substance and excitement of their discipline available to students.”Sandy Irani

Professor Sandy Irani, Vice Chair Computing Division in the Department of Computer Science, not only excels in teaching courses on discrete mathematics at UCI, but has also supported local coding courses for middle school girls. Furthermore, she authored a zyBook (a web-based, interactive textbook replacement) on Discrete Mathematics that has been used by more than 94,000 students and 2,000 instructors at over 1,600 different institutions.

“It’s truly an honor to receive this award,” says Irani. “Teaching is one of the most gratifying parts of my job, and it’s a pleasure to work with so many great students at UCI.”

Distinguished Early-Career Faculty Award for Research
Established in 1994, the Distinguished Early-Career Faculty Award for Research recognizes members of the Academic Senate at the rank of assistant professor “who have made outstanding contributions in their discipline through their research.”Sameer

Associate Professor of Computer Science Sameer Singh is investigating fairnessinterpretability, and debugging of natural language processing and machine learning through collaborative partnerships.

“I am so thankful for the award. The credit goes to all the students and collaborators in my group, without whom this would not be possible,” says Singh. “I would also like to thank my colleagues and the staff at ICS, who have been incredibly supportive in helping me build my research group.”

— Shani Murray