Kumar Yelamarthi likes to challenge his students to raise their expectations of themselves.
Yelamarthi is director of the
School of Engineering and Technology and a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Central Michigan University. He is known for teaching students through teamwork-based activities that provide real-world experience in transforming classroom theory into prototype creation. His creative approach to teaching and learning led to his selection as the Michigan Science Teachers Association's College Science Teacher of the Year.
"I believe raising the bar will force students to fail and from this failure, they will learn how to succeed," Yelamarthi said.
While working as a teacher's assistant during his Ph.D. studies, Yelamarthi found his calling as a professor.
"The most rewarding aspect of my job is the students — nothing else," he said. "Being able to positively impact and inspire a student's life is why I teach."
Students say the structure of Yelamarthi's courses reflect this attitude; from engaging lectures to hands-on experiments, his student-focused teaching style shines.
"He truly goes out of his way for the benefit of his students," said Nolan Walter, senior mechanical engineering major from Howell, Michigan. "An example is the outside of the class review sessions he offers. Those provide extra help when we need it."
Yelamarthi was nominated by fellow School of Engineering and Technology faculty member Ahmed Abdelgawad.
"Dr. Yelamarthi is an exceptional professor who is dedicated to his work and students," Abdelgawad said. "I was inspired to nominate him because of his passion for engineering and teaching. Through his work and classes, it's clear he is very knowledgeable about his field and puts in his best effort to make sure that his students excel."
Yelamarthi accredits the College Science Teacher of the Year award to the support he receives from fellow faculty and his students' willingness to be pushed academically.
"This award is acknowledgement that the effort of every teacher is worth it," he said.
Yelamarthi previously served as coordinator of CMU's electrical engineering and computer engineering programs and assistant to the dean of College of Science and Engineering.
This article was written by University Communications intern, Eva Steepe.