Logo: University of Southern California

Two Ming Hsieh Department Faculty Members Honored at USC Convocation

Viterbi professors win Associates Excellence in Teaching and Phi Kappa Phi faculty recognition awards
Eric Mankin
March 14, 2007 —

Alexander Sawchuk and Bart Kosko received awards at the University of Southern California Convocation, USC's solemn annual ceremony acknowledging academic excellence. Both are professors in the Viterbi School's Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Enginering.

Sawchuk received the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching, Kosko the hi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award.

Sawchuk is Systems Chair of the Hsieh Department and Associate Director of the USC Integrated Media Systems Center. The commendation presented to him read:

"The consummate educator, Alexander Sawchuk is a shining exemplar of teaching at its best.  He is a teacher
whom students turn to for guidance and help long after graduation, and he is exceptionally skilled at mentoring young scientists and engineers.  Many leaders in the field of optics are his protégés.

"Since joining USC in 1971, Professor Sawchuk has had an extraordinary impact on the lives of his students.  Described by a colleague as the “iron man” of teaching for his consistently high student evaluation scores, he is keenly attuned to meeting his students’ needs and developing their strengths.  In turn, they praise him as enthusiastic, knowledgeable, generous with his time – and as one student wrote – “simply great.” 

"His honors include the Viterbi School’s Outstanding Teaching Award.

"The holder of a Ph.D. from Stanford, he has directed USC’s Signal and Image Processing Institute, developed courses on evolving topics such as optical computing systems, and updated existing courses on image processing and optical signal processing.  He has excelled as an administrator and department head.

"Professor Sawchuk’s educational influence extends into the wider community, where he has participated in high school programs, professional organizations, and teaching work abroad.  He is on the board of directors of the Optical Society of America Foundation and has chaired the Education Committee of the International Commission for Optics.  He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Optical Society of America, and the International Society for Optical Engineering.

"For his inspired teaching and his enduring contributions to undergraduate and graduate education, the University of Southern California is pleased to honor  Professor Alexander Sawchuk with the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching."

Kosko is a longtime member of the Hsieh department's Signal and Image Processing Institute, and the author of numerous books

for both technical and for lay audiences.  His award pays  tribute to his latest book in the lay category, "Noise." It reads:

"In his book Noise, Bart Kosko offers a fascinating perspective on the subjective definition of noise and its pervasive presence.  Drawing on biology, information science, the law, economics, and communications, he illuminates the detrimental effects that noise can have, especially on people’s hearing and health, and also the positive roles it plays, including how noise can be exploited to enhance audio reception or improve image quality.  Professor Kosko also provides a historical account of the "war on noise" that was declared by a communications specialist in the 20th century.  In defining noise as unwanted energy, he argues that noise shouldn’t simply be discarded as useless signals.  For his remarkably original, innovative, and interdisciplinary examination of this key topic in information processing, Phi Kappa Phi is proud to confer its Faculty Recognition Award on Professor Bart Kosko."