Carnegie Mellon University
April 11, 2022

CB Associate Teaching Professor Receives Prestigious Teaching Award from School of Computer Science

Phillip Compeau, Associate Teaching Professor in the Computational Biology Department, was awarded the Herbert A. Simon Award for Teaching Excellence in Computer Science during the School of Computer Science’s Founder’s Day Celebration on April 5, 2022. This award is presented annually and acknowledges excellence and dedication to teaching by a faculty member in the school. 

Phillip was nominated for his teaching of 02-251 (Great Ideas in Computational Biology), a course that he created with Carl Kingsford in 2019. This course is aimed at showing first-year students in the School of Computer Science the beautiful ideas that have made biology a computational, data-driven discipline, and it serves as the first course in the SCS computational biology major of which Phillip serves as the founding director. “When Compeau showed us his selection of "great ideas" of computational biology-- the ones that take simple, elegant ideas from CS and produce something extraordinary in biology-- I thought, 'This. This is exactly why I went into CS.'"

During the pandemic, Phillip did whatever he could to keep the students engaged while in virtual classes, including creative slides and sometimes, costumes. Anyone that has the privilege to have a class or meet Professor Compeau truly can see how much he cares for us students and how much he emphasizes making and maintaining relationships with students.”

Phillip says, “It is a great honor to have received this very prestigious award, and I hope that in teaching a course that shows the beautiful intersection between computer science and biology, I am performing a small service towards celebrating the legacy of Herb Simon, a polymath and a pioneer in interdisciplinary research. Yet the greatest privilege has been getting to teach this course, and I must thank my wonderful students and teaching assistants.”

If you’d like to view the most up-to-date version of the course, please visit Phillip’s website.