2012 Distinguished Academic Achievement Alumni Award
Ran Libeskind-Hadas (MS '89, PhD '93) is the department chair and the R. Michael Shanahan Professor of Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College (HMC) in Claremont, CA, where he has been a faculty member for the past 19 years. Known for his infectious enthusiasm in the classroom, Libeskind-Hadas has taught courses such as discrete mathematics, introduction to computer science, complexity theory, advanced algorithms, and computer graphics. HMC has recognized his teaching excellence with two separate honors. In 1996, he received the Iris and Howard Critchell Assistant Professorship, which recognizes a junior faculty who has exhibited unusual talent for mentoring and counseling students in all aspects of their lives, and, in 2005, he received the Joseph B. Platt Endowed Chair for effective teaching.
Admired and respected by his students, Libeskind-Hadas is known for being an excellent communicator with seemingly endless energy. His excitement for the material brings difficult concepts to life, while his clear explanations and extensive office hours help ensure that students master them. Always striving to innovate in the classroom, Libeskind-Hadas has helped to revamp HMC’s introductory CS courses, including the creation of a cross disciplinary CS and Biology introductory course. In addition, he has worked even more broadly to improve education, publishing papers in education-focused engineering and computer science conferences.
An expert in the design and analysis of algorithms for computational biology, one focus for Libeskind-Hadas has been to provide students with rich research experiences, having successfully applied for several NSF grants for that purpose. In fact, he has supervised 44 summer research students, 17 senior theses, and 17 year-long undergraduate research projects sponsored by industry partners. In addition, Libeskind-Hadas’s influence extends beyond HMC. He currently serves as co-chair of the Computing Research Association's Education Committee, and he is serving a term on the Computing Community Consortium Council, a national committee that helps the computing community develop new research visions.