Israel, a truly inspirational professor

Context

A few years ago I went through the process of an application to be recognized as one of the inspirational professors so I know what this process is about. I was not selected and recognize the amazing competition that we have among our colleagues at the Tecnológico de Monterrey. We have incredible educators in our hallways and they should be recognized.

Picture of Israel giving class.
“Israel leading Class” flickr photo by kenbauer https://flickr.com/photos/ken_bauer/40338435033 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

First Contact

I first met Israel Vizcarra Varela in the summer of 2017 when we were planning our first Semester-i for the computing department. This was a new experience for a team which was dominated by professors in computing (all but Israel) and all but one (again Israel) were full-time professors on our campus. I can honestly say that I enjoyed working with Israel that semester and found inspiration in his approach to teaching, the way he connects with his students and his full grasp of his discipline. I found myself asking him for his opinion on my approaches and we developed an excellent working relationship during that semester which was an award  winning project.

Israel (together with Yolanda Cham, Claudia Aguayo and myself) collaborated on a submission to the Ashoka U Innovation Award 2018 which was presented at the Ashoka U Exchange 2018 and was awarded as a 2018 Innovation Award Semi-Finalist and the work was presented by Yolanda in Boston at the event in the session “Maximizing Student Engagement: Best Practices & Lessons Learned“. I include the video below of the submission for the award. The link to the video is in the references at the bottom. Take time to watch this video and the inspiration visible in the faces of our students and the students who were the recipients of their math learning games.

Collaboration Continues

Israel worked together with myself on two other Semester-i implementations during January-May 2018 and August-December 2018. Each of these instances were distinct but the profesional manner and charisma that is evident in Israel continued with each group. It was a pleasure to work with Israel and he maintained a leadership role (again despite being the “outsider” as a non-computing professor) as he and I were the only constants across all three versions (so far) of Semester-i for our computing department on campus.

Again, I know the process of applying for this award and know personally some of the winners and their amazing work at our institution. The first episode (and only one since we really need to record more) of our “Profesor Tec21” podcast was with a past winner, Luis Humberto González Guerra. Having experienced the process of applying myself, seeing the competition of the amazing faculty at our institution and having worked personally with Israel over the past two years I can without reservation give my strong recommendation for Israel as an candidate for the award of “Profesor Inspirador” at the Tecnológico de Monterrey.

This is my first semester (January – May 2019) not working directly with Israel since that first contact and I truly miss working with him directly.

Reference links

  1. Ashoka U Innovation Award 2018 video submission can be found at https://youtu.be/135UYec1l_s
  2. Link to announcement as an Ashoka U Innovation Award 2018 Semi-Finalist: https://ashokau.org/blog/2018-innovation-award-semi-finalists/
  3. Photos courtesy of Yolanda Cham and myself on our Flickr Feeds at https://www.flickr.com/photos/ychamyuen/albums/72157688643656115/page4 and https://www.flickr.com/photos/ken_bauer/albums/72157687224084356

Ken Bauer

Assoc. Professor #CompSci @TecDeMonterrey in Guadalajara, #edupunk, @FlippedLearning chair, podcasts @AskTheFLN #OEP, #Oilers fan, Canadian in Mexico.

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