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Past Winners of the Teacher of the Week

Katerina Ziotopoulou


The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Katerina Ziotopoulou, assistant professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, for bringing a great energy and passion into the classroom, very intentionally designing lectures towards engaging all students and triggering them to think critically and independently, and going above and beyond to help her students grasp difficult concepts.

Dr. Ziotopoulou has taught an undergraduate class on Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering twice (Fall 2014, enrollment 50, Fall 2015 enrollment 34) and a newly developed graduate class on Numerical Modeling in Geotechnical Engineering twice (Spring 2015, enrollment 9 and Spring 2016, enrollment 12). She is also currently teaching an undergraduate class of 60 students on Computer Applications in Civil Engineering which takes place in a computer lab. Katerina’s love for teaching naturally builds on her love for learning. Her goal for her students, both in a research group and in the classroom, is to shape them into good citizens and prepare them for successful careers in academia or industry. As one student stated, “She made a very difficult class interesting and manageable. She motivated me to work hard and fully understand the subject matter. I feel like she went out of her way to connect with the students and try to inspire and motivate them to learn the course material. She is my favorite professor I've had in 3.5 years at school and taught one of the hardest classes I've taken.”

When designing a whole new course or constructing every single lecture within one course she strives to be intentional, thoughtful and proactive about anything that happens in her classroom and all the choices that she makes towards that. From the very first sentence that Katerina says at the beginning of the lecture all the way to grading homework, she creates a consistent thread of concepts and lessons. Katerina always has an agenda for her lectures because she employs different ways of triggering students and wants to make sure that everything is coordinated: videos, discussions, blackboard writing, breaking up in groups, working on examples, calling students to the board, and all that while synchronizing her input with their handouts. One students commented, “She was extremely passionate about her practice. She presented the material in a way that was interesting and stimulating. She also called on students to answer questions throughout the lecture and this helped to keep my focus during longer lectures.” Dr. Ziotopoulou’s goal is that once students leave the classroom and have to tackle the homework and the exams without her support, they need to be able to stand on their own feet.

Katerina is an ASCE ExCEEd (Excellence in Civil Engineering Education) Fellow and a current participant of CIDER’s Early Career Teaching Certificate program.


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A list of the past winners is available.