The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has named Stephen Edwards, associate professor of computer science with the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, as a 2013 Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award winner.

The awards, sponsored by the Dominion Foundation, a philanthropic unit of the energy company based in Richmond, Va., is the commonwealth’s highest honor for university faculty. It honors a Virginia faculty member’s commitment to excellence in teaching, research, knowledge integration, and public service.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award, which highlights the commitment and passion of educators who continually strive to improve teaching techniques and enhance student learning,” Edwards said.

The honor comes on the heels of Edwards being awarded the W.S. “Pete” White Chair for Innovation in Engineering Education honorarium by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors in summer 2012. For that honor, Department of Computer Science head Barbara Ryder, commended Edwards for leading two curriculum reform efforts within computer science during the past decade.

Edwards is one of 12 awardees this year to be honored by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. For the Outstanding Faculty Award, Edwards and his fellow honorees will be feted at a luncheon at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond on Feb. 12, 2013. Prior to the lunch, recipients will be given an honorary introduction on the floor of the General Assembly. 

In addition to Edwards, two other Virginia Tech faculty members are among the honorees: Harold E. Burkhart, University Distinguished Professor and the Thomas M. Brooks Professor of Forestry in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, and geoscientist Patricia M. Dove in the College of Science were named Virginia’s Outstanding Scientist of 2012 last week by the Science Museum of Virginia.

Edwards’ most prominent educational project is called the Web-based Center for Automated Testing, or Web-CAT, and it has been adopted by 75 institutions nationwide. Its development supported by the National Science Foundation, Web-CAT is the most widely used open-source grading tool of its kind in the world, with nearly 10,000 users.

Edwards also was one of the key developers of CloudSpace, an innovative Web 2.0 application environment for student programming projects, and was awarded the 2006 XCaliber Award from Virginia Tech for courseware development. He has participated in 21 funded grant projects with an approximate value of $4.2 million, with 14 of the projects aimed at research and dissemination of innovative teaching approaches.

Edwards received his bachelor's degree from the California Institute of Technology and a master's degree and Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

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