William F. Walker Teaching Awards


The William F. Walker Teaching Awards recognize and motivate outstanding achievement by faculty members involved in the education of engineering students at Auburn. There are two levels of recognition – Merit and Superior. The latter represents the highest honor for instruction in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and is presented to one faculty member annually. It carries a $10,000 stipend. 

The merit award is also presented to faculty who exemplify excellence in teaching and a deep commitment to the education of our students. It includes a $5,000 stipend, and may be awarded to more than one faculty member, based on the availability of funds in the endowment.

Renamed for Walker in 2000 when he served the university as provost and vice president of academic affairs, these prestigious awards were originally known as the Fred and Mary Lou Birdsong Teaching Awards from their inception in 1990. A 1934 graduate in chemical engineering, Fred noted that he and Mary Lou sought to enable the kinds of experiences that would produce well rounded students.

Walker, who became president of Auburn in 2001, also served as dean of engineering from 1988-98. The Birdsongs cited Walker’s outstanding service as dean in renaming the awards. 


Faculty members throughout the university are eligible for the Walker awards, with the provision that they have taught engineering students and made a lasting impact on their academic studies. Superior Teaching Award recipients cannot repeat within a three-year period; Merit Teaching Award recipients are not eligible for consideration in consecutive years.


Nominations for the William F. Walker Teaching Awards may be made by faculty members, students and alumni. Nomination packets must be no more than 12 pages and include:

  • A letter of support from the department chair (limited to four pages)
  • Two or three additional letters of support
  • Student evaluations from the past three to five years (summary table)
  • Current curriculum vita
  • Summary relating the relevance of courses that do not carry engineering designations, as they apply to the education of engineering students
  • A thorough evaluation of teaching competence and effectiveness should anchor the nomination

Nomination deadline

Packets are submitted initially to the department chair for committee review. Further review is at the dean’s level, with a committee composed of the previous year's Superior Teaching Award recipient, and representatives from the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council, the Engineering Student Council and the Office of the Provost. 

The Walker Teaching Awards are presented at the College of Engineering's spring awards ceremony.

If you have any questions about the online nomination process, please contact Angie Lemke at lemkean@auburn.edu

Previous recipients

2022: Superior: Jeffrey LaMondia
          Merit: Richard Sesek, Russell Mailen

2021: Superior: Jonathan Davis
          Merit: Molly Hughes, Bill Josephson

2020: Superior: Thaddeus Roppel
          Merit: Sanjeev Baskiyar, Mark Dougherty, Jordan Roberts

2019: Superior: Rick Williams
          Merit: Asha-Dee Celestine, Michael Zabala

2018: Superior: Joseph Shaeiwitz                            
          Merit: Anahita Ayasoufi, Richard Sesek  

2017: Superior: Stan Reeves                            
          Merit: Sushil Bhavnani, Robert Barnes  

2016: Superior: Nels Madsen                                
          Merit: Joseph Shaeiwitz, Stuart Wentworth

2015: Superior: Molly Hughes                         
          Merit: James Cross, Elizabeth Lipke, Richard Williams   

2014: Superior: Dean Hendrix                         
          Merit: Mario R. Eden, Roy W. Knight, Andrew J. Sinclair, Jeffrey J. LaMondia

2013: Superior: Lewis N. Payton                
          Merit: Mark E. Byrne, R. Steven Gross                       

2012: Superior: Andrew Shelton                     
          Merit: Bart Prorok, Anton K. Schindler, Hareesh Tippur

2011: Superior: Roy W. Knight                   
          Merit: Dean Hendrix, David Cicci  

2010: Superior: Dan Wilamowski                     
          Merit: Robert Barnes, David Bevly, Bill Josephson

2009: Superior: Steve R. Duke                          
          Merit: Subhash Sinha, Brian S. Thurow   

2008: Superior: Stuart M. Wentworth                
          Merit: Rod E. Turochy, David A. Umphress, W. Robert Ashurst

2007: Superior: Mario R. Eden                        
          Merit: Charles Stroud, Sushil Bhavnani, Robert Chambers 

2006: Superior: Mark E. Byrne, Jorge Valenzuela                    

2005: Superior: Steve R. Duke                       
          Merit: Robert W. Barnes, John Y. Hung, Gisela Buschle-Diller

2004: Superior: William F. Gale                   
          Merit: Y. Y. Leem, Mark Nelms, Adit D. Singh, George T. Flowers

2003: Merit: David Mills, Jay Khodadadi

2002: Superior: Mahmoud El-Halwagi           
           Merit: Ronald M. Barrett, Christopher B. Roberts, Victor P. Nelson

2001: Superior: Sushil H. Bhavnani              
           Merit: Thomas S. Denney, Jr., Gopal A. Krishnagopalan, Robert E. Thomas, Jr.