1995 COW Award Speech, presented to David Wood

Fellow humans, and distinguished members of the faculty:

On this beautiful Wisconsin spring day, it is both my privilege and my honor to present the winner of the Student Association of Computing Machinery COW Award. This award, determined by the students, serves a dual purpose. It gives the SACM President something useful to do once a year, and, more importantly, it provides the students with a voice for recognizing excellence in teaching.

Twenty-three out of our thirty-something faculty members received votes this year. Given the percentages of people that vote in American elections, this result is a testament to the high quantity of teaching aptitude that exists in our department. The top four vote-getters have been invited to this ceremony. They are: Michael Carey, Charles Fisher, Yannis Ioannidis, and David Wood. Both Dr. Fisher and Dr. Ioannidis have won the award in recent years. Their consistently high performance clearly shows the esteem in which they are held by their students.

Before presenting the COW award, I would like to read a letter recommending the winner, written by a student, which shows the impact that quality teaching can have.

Dear SACM:

I would like to recommend (David Wood) for the SACM Cow Award. He is an excellent teacher, both in and out of the classroom. When I first took his class, my life was an endless succession of dreary days. I was sickly, unattractive, and regularly tormented by my peers. (Dr. Wood) changed all that. His class gave me the confidence needed to revamp my sorry excuse for a life and turn it into something better. One recent day, walking back from the CS building, three large kinesiology students approached me with menacing expressions. I challenged them to beat me at minimizing the area required for a VLSI 4-bit adder layout. When they saw that my design required 13.5% less chip area than their best, not only did they stop picking on me, they eventually became my fast friends.

It is the rare educator who can express difficult concepts in such a manner as to enlighten even the densest of students. His willingness to dose his body with massive quantities of caffeine--simply to improve the flow of information to his students--speaks of his dedication. Woe to the fool who drifts off to sleep and misses even a single minute of his erudite expoundings. Let me conclude by saying that this professor is a wonderful teacher well deserving of recognition. It is my deepest hope that he receives the COW award and subsequently reconsiders my grade.


W. Gosset

The COW award consists of a travelling COW trophy, an imminently framed certificate, an entry in the departmental award case, and undoubtedly the admiration of your peers. This year's COW award goes to the department's worst assistant professor, who also happens to be the department's best assistant professor -- David Wood. Congratulations.

Last modified: Tue Jan 23 15:43:00 CDT 1996 by Doug Burger