2012 University Awards

Alumni Professorship Award

This award honors a faculty member for teaching excellence.  The award carries a three-year stipend made possible by the generosity of the BYU Alumni Association.

Paul B. Farnsworth

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Paul B. Farnsworth has served the University and its students for over thirty years. He has an infectious love for chemistry and education and skillfully brings his enthusiasm for learning into the classroom and laboratory. He is an interactive instructor who engages students at all levels. Paul is noted for his rigor and genuine desire to see students reach their full potential. He is a highly creative scientist who regularly tackles problems of significance and complexity. Importantly, he integrates both graduate and undergraduate students in his scientific pursuits allowing them to develop into well-educated scientists. In addition to being an excellent teacher-scholar, he is an outstanding citizen who is dedicated to BYU’s mission. In short, Paul Farnsworth is a consummate professor who demonstrates the very best attributes of the profession.

Young Scholar Award

This award encourages and acknowledges outstanding promise and contributions by faculty in the early stages of their academic careers.

Eric K. Ringger

Computer Science

Eric Ringger’s scholarship has focused on the area of natural language processing using computers.  Eric initiated the Active Learning for Annotation (ALFA) project in 2007, a successful interdisciplinary effort involving Computer Science, Linguistics, and the Center for the Preservation of Religious Texts.  The ALFA project is among the first attempts, if not the first, to design and implement solutions for software systems for cost-conscious, cooperative annotation of under-resourced languages, such as Syriac (the language of Near Eastern Early Christianity).  In another research effort, Eric is involved in research to improve the automatic production of quality documents from noisy document images, by developing novel optical character recognition techniques.  Eric is also an excellent teacher.  He is very rigorous and thorough in his teaching, and has high expectations for his students.


Technology Transfer Award

This award recognizes faculty who have made significant research contributions that have led to the development of useful commercial products.

Thomas W. Sederberg

Computer Science

Tom Sederberg is receiving this year’s Technology Transfer Award, which recognizes faculty who have made significant research contributions that have led to the development of useful commercial products.  Tom’s research has made significant contributions in the areas of geometric modeling and algebraic geometry.  Most recently, Tom has developed a technique, referred to as T-splines, that allows surfaces to be locally refinable.  T-splines eliminate gaps inherent in other surface types and provide greater flexibility to the user.  This work is causing researchers and practitioners to rethink the way they perform geometric modeling.  His work resulted in the formation of a startup company called T-Splines, which was recently acquired by Autodesk, a corporation that focuses on development of 3D design software for a variety of industries.

Creative Works Award

This award recognizes faculty members and university personnel who demonstrate outstanding achievement in the development of creative works that have had wide acceptance and distribution nationally or internationally.

Brian F. Woodfield

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Brian Woodfield is a creative scholar and dedicated instructor. In addition to research in the areas of low-temperature thermodynamics and the use of metal oxide nanoparticles as catalysts, Brian has developed a teaching tool that uniquely integrates his scholarship with his strong commitment to teaching. Brian, together with other colleagues at BYU created Virtual Chem lab, Virtual Physics, Virtual Earth Sciences and most recently, Virtual Biology. These programs are being used in an ever-increasing number of countries and settings. Each time a virtual lab is started, the BYU logo and name appear thus bringing recognition not only to the developers but also to the university. Brian is a great example of the commitment to teaching and scholarship that is such an important part of our college.