Autar Kaw - Student Introduction

Remarks by Daniel Miller
Former student of Autar Kaw
2012 Outstanding Doctoral and Research Universities Professor of the Year

I have known Dr. Kaw for more than four years, and during this time, I have gained a tremendous amount of respect for him. Dr. Kaw is truly an innovator and the single most influential teacher I have ever known. I first met him when I was an undergraduate student in 2008 when I took two of his classes. These were in the top five of the most difficult classes in the curriculum, and I was continually pushed and challenged throughout the entire semester. It was rough. However, I have never had a teacher as efficient and effective as Dr. Kaw.

In fact, Dr. Kaw possesses all the qualities of a great educator; he is dedicated, innovative, motivated and fair. He displays genuine compassion for students and their development. He is a leader. When you're in one of his lectures, Dr. Kaw inspires you to learn, inspires you to seek more and inspires you to ask questions. He is extremely talented in relaying information in a manner that sticks for life.

When it came time for graduate school, I was pleased to hear that Dr. Kaw had accepted my request to become my adviser. I knew I would be pushed harder than ever before. I knew that the next four semesters would be my most difficult. But, I also knew that by working under his supervision, I would develop into a top-notch professional.

From the start, I knew I was lucky. But I didn't realize how lucky until after I graduated and started talking with my new work colleagues. I spoke to one in particular, a 1991 graduate, who had Dr. Kaw as a student. He still remembered the engineering foundations and sound mathematically modeling taught to him by Dr. Kaw. He vividly described to me, with correct axioms, the problems Dr. Kaw would solve in lecture. This may sound amazing, but I personally know of at least five other practicing engineers from various graduating years who can do the same. And they do it with pride—you can hear it in their voices.      

The dedication that Dr. Kaw has to teaching is absolutely apparent. He understands that each student requires something special and that teaching styles must be adjusted to meet the student's needs. He understands the various learning mechanisms of the student and uses all vehicles possible to reach out to the student. In addition to the six textbooks he's written, he has developed and edited more than 270 YouTube lecture videos and an online free textbook with more than 700 pages of material. Online, you can also find PowerPoint presentations, test questions and hundreds of detailed examples. You can even follow him on Twitter. All of this may sound overwhelming, but he organizes the information in a logical and easy-to-navigate, simple website. Dr. Kaw is truly a modern day pioneer in education.

I am lucky to have had Dr. Kaw as a teacher, and I am proud to have worked with him on several projects. He is truly an outstanding role model and a wonderful mentor. Please join me in recognizing his exceptional career and in honoring him as a U.S. Professor of the Year. It is my great pleasure to introduce to you, Dr. Autar Kaw.