Success Story

May 18, 2018

CBC awardee Joshua Leonard, NU, receives a 2018 Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence award

Congratulations to Joshua Leonard, NU, who is among a total of five recipients of 2018 Northwestern University Teaching Awards. Leonard is a current holder of a CBC Catalyst Award which he received in 2017 for two years, for a collaborative project with two UIC researchers, Ernesto Bongarzone and Steven Roth. Leonard was also an invited speaker at the 9th CBC Annual Symposium (2011), “Engineering Biology: From Tools to Insights.” In addition, Leonard was a mentor to a CBC Scholar, Class of 2012, Andrew Scarpelli, NU, who held the CBC Scholar Award for two years 2012-2013.

Leonard and Wilson Honored with 2018 University Teaching Awards

Awards celebrate excellence, innovation, and influence in undergraduate teaching

Northwestern University Engineering News  |  by Kayla Stoner  |  May 15, 2018

Northwestern Engineering’s Joshua Leonard and Jill Hardin Wilson are among the five faculty members who will receive the 2018 University Teaching Awards later this month. The awards honor outstanding performance and dedication to undergraduate education at Northwestern.

Leonard will receive a Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence award. Wilson will receive the Charles Deering McCormick Distinguished Professor of Instruction award.

The recipients will receive their awards at an installation ceremony at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 24, in the Guild Lounge in Scott Hall on the Evanston campus. All members of the Northwestern community are invited to attend the ceremony and the following reception.

The Charles Deering McCormick Professorship, Lectureship, and Clinical Professorship Awards have a three-year term and for each year of the award term, the recipients receive $7,000 as a salary supplement and $3,000 for professional development. A one-time $3,000 award also is given to the recipient’s home department to support activities that enhance undergraduate education.

The process for selecting these award recipients begins with nominations from the deans of the schools or colleges in which the recipients have principal appointments. The selection committee, chaired by Provost Jonathan Holloway and including senior faculty members, University administrators, and a student representative, then selects the awardees.

Joshua Leonard, NU

Joshua Leonard, NU

Leonard is an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. He is a leader in teaching innovation that promotes students’ independent thinking and problem-solving skills. Passionate about student-directed learning, Leonard has redesigned longstanding courses and created new courses to build hands-on learning opportunities that immerse students in real science and engineering.

A current student explained that Leonard challenges students to understand the material so they can apply what they’ve learned in a novel way, which although difficult, encourages them to take ownership of their understanding of the material.

Leonard has directly mentored nearly 40 students in his lab, many of whom go on to earn competitive awards and author publications, and he is a long-serving member of the Office of Undergraduate Research’s team that provides feedback on student-led projects. Leonard co-founded and is lead adviser for Northwestern’s international Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) team, which prepares students for careers in the emerging engineering discipline of synthetic biology, and he serves as a mentor in the Murphy Institute, which enables McCormick School of Engineering undergraduates to pursue an extended, self-directed project.

A student wrote, “Professor Leonard exemplifies teaching both in the classroom and as a mentor.”


Adapted (with modifications) from the Northwestern University Engineering News, by Kayla Stoner, published on May 15, 2018.

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Joshua Leonard, NU, has following ties to CBC: