Walter J. Gores Awards

Faculty Achievement Awards for Excellence in Teaching

The Gores Award is the University's highest award for excellence in teaching. The Walter J. Gores Awards recognize undergraduate and graduate teaching excellence. As the University's highest award for teaching, the Gores Award celebrates achievement in educational activities that include lecturing, tutoring, advising, and discussion leading. Ordinarily, awards are made each year to:

  • A senior faculty member (associate or full professor) or a senior lecturer
  • A junior faculty member or member of the teaching staff
  • A teaching assistant (undergraduate or graduate student)

2018-2019, Daniel Birman, Ph.D. Candidate in Psychology

For building fantastic learning experiences for students, including playful web-based brain simulations that acquaint students with complex ideas; and

For his innovative teaching through lectures and sections that cover links between natural and artificial intelligence and ethical questions raised as science and technology advance; and

For helping his fellow PhDs grow as teachers through his management of the teaching team; and

For developing coursework that routinely exceeds student expectations;

Daniel Birman

2018-2019, Zephyr Frank, Gild red Professor of Latin American Studies, Professor of History and, by courtesy, of Iberian and Latin American Cultures

For building relationships with each of his students; and

For fostering intellectual curiosity and ambition; and

For welcoming critical discussions and encouraging students to engage as intellectual equals; and

For his remarkable ability and willingness to engage productively with subjects outside of his sphere of interest;

Zephyr Frank

2018-2019, Iris Malone, Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science

For being a role model for what it means to be an innovative researcher and an inspiring mentor; and

For designing curriculum for several multi-day international crisis simulations and mentoring graduate students through the Mentors in Teaching program; and

For outstanding service as a teaching assistant that leads students to actively seek out other courses in which she is a TA; and

For teaching students how to develop original theories to answer complex questions and sharpen their critical thinking skills;

Iris Malone

2018-2019, Erin Mordecai, Assistant Professor of Biology

For engaging with students at a high level of intellectual intensity, respect, and belief in their capabilities; and

For viewing teaching as an opportunity for students to explore complex topics at great depth; and

For imparting life lessons and encouraging students to dedicate themselves to their passion; and

For being an inspiring role model for women in science;

Erin Mordecai

2017-18 Michele Elam, Professor of English, the William Robertson Coe Professor, the Olivier Nomellini Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, and Director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program, Modern Thought and Literature

For her unwavering support of students' dreams, hopes and ambitions;

For her skillful lectures that demonstrate the merit of interdisciplinary engagement with literature;

For fostering a spirit of kindness, respect, debate and humor in the classroom; and

For emphasizing the importance of art, culture and creative expression as means of both understanding and shaping the world.

Michele Elam

2017-18 Richard Nevle, Lecturer and Deputy Director of the Earth Systems Program

For his relentless work to deliver the best education for students and to provide insightful and sensitive advice;

For being the ultimate team player to the point of self-effacement; 

For motivating students from diverse academic backgrounds to challenge themselves and each other; and

For exhibiting generosity, kindness and insight in advising and teaching.

Richard Nevle

2017-18 Delaney Sullivan, master’s candidate in computer science

For being relatable, understanding and sympathetic;

For expanding teaching into mentorship;

For his personal dedication and his sacrifices for the good of the students; and

For exemplifying an amazing commitment to learning, teaching and helping students grow.

Delaney Sullivan

2016-17 Mike Tomz, Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research


For being a leader in transforming the undergraduate experience for political science students at Stanford through dynamic content of the highest academic quality;

For the creation and stewardship of the Political Science Summer Research College; and 

For being an outstanding, caring, and conscientious teacher who is a model of high expectations and generosity.

Mike Tomz

2016-17 Dan Reineman, Lecturer in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences

For being a knowledgeable, caring, enthusiastic and thoughtful mentor;

For his teaching and participation in the Wrigley Field Program in Hawaii, which facilitated exploration and self-driven discovery for students; and

For being a beacon of light and positivity for students.

Dan Reineman

2016-17 Lelia Glass, Ph.D. candidate in linguistics

For deep commitment to mentoring and educating undergraduates, and for being approachable, understanding and knowledgeable; and

For dedication in building community among students, and helping them forge paths beyond Stanford.

Lelia Glass

2016-17 Kian Katanforoosh, M.S. candidate in management science & engineering

For always maintaining an enthusiastic demeanor that reflects a passion for teaching;

For teaching Introduction to Cryptography and excelling in communication and classroom management; and

For encouraging and inspiring students to develop their own understanding of problems and resolutions.

Kian Katanforoosh

2015-16 Alberto Salleo, Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

For his rare combination” of interpersonal skills, technical expertise and generosity of spirit; 

For his creative use of technology and other tools that have transformed MSE 204, Thermodynamics and Phase Equilibria – an essential and difficult course – into a fascinating exploration of fundamental materials science and one of the school’s most highly rated courses; and

For his ingenuity in teaching – working with an instructional design team to create a graphic novel to help students become familiar with basic thermodynamic principles and ways of thinking.

Alberto Salleo

2015-16 Stephen P. Boyd, Samsung Professor in the School of Engineering and Professor, by courtesy, of Computer Science and of Management Science and Engineering

For making advanced mathematic topics accessible and interesting to students across disciplines; 

For his signature course, Convex Optimization, which attracts more than 300 Stanford students each year, is taught at more than 100 universities and, over the past 20 years has had a profound influence on how researchers and engineers think about convex models to solve problems; 

For revolutionizing the way mathematical optimization is taught and applied in engineering and the social and natural sciences worldwide; and

For his new course on linear algebra for freshmen and sophomores – anticipated to become a cornerstone in undergraduate engineering mathematics.

Stephen P. Boyd

2015-16 John Edward Moalli, Lecturer in Chemical Engineering

For combining academic study with hands-on experience and presentation opportunities and for pushing students to think creatively and develop confidence in public speaking; 

For the enthusiastic and innovative teaching that has made Masters of Disaster – an introductory seminar about engineering design – a student favorite; 

For fostering teamwork and encouraging students to learn to solve problems as a group; and

For his legendary class trips to the Exponent Test and Engineering Center in Arizona – always carefully planned to coincide with live crash tests and described by students as the ‘best field trip ever.'

John Edward Moalli

2015-16 Lily Lamboy, Ph.D. candidate in political science

For being a strong leader in the classroom, fostering balanced participation so many voices and perspectives are heard on every issue; and

For her deep commitment to pursuing social justice and stimulating civic engagement, thoughtfully challenging and changing the way students think about the world.

Lily Lamboy

2015-16 Yiyang Li, Ph.D. candidate in materials science and engineering

For his generosity as a mentor and for his dedication to improving as a teacher, even practicing his lectures in advance and encouraging feedback; 

For his impressive skills of anticipating points of confusion and making clear the traditionally difficult topic of thermodynamics in teaching a 60-student course on batteries; and

For his ability to communicate both specific information and the greater significance of the subject – such as the importance of energy storage for society.

Yiyang Li
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