The 2020 Pearson Faculty Award for outstanding teaching was presented to Atul Agarwal, professor of management information systems. The award recognizes a faculty member whose performance exemplifies UIS’ commitment to excellence in teaching and who stands among the very best teachers on campus. Such a teacher both informs and inspires students, giving them the knowledge and values with which they may become productive and enlightened citizens. The award was established by a gift from Emmet and Mary Pearson, longtime benefactors of the campus.
Agarwal joined UIS in 2009. Since then, he has taught many undergraduate and graduate courses in the operations management and management information systems areas. He has excellent teaching evaluation ratings that are above department, college and university percentages. Students describe Agarwal as being “very responsive” and “one of the best professors I’ve had…at UIS.” His teaching philosophy is well articulated and rests on five pillars of educational excellence to: create a learner-centered environment, encourage active learning, create “learned” vs. “high grade” individuals, encourage learning with fun and integrate new knowledge from scholarly work into student learning. He also applies great teaching innovation in his classes through his creation of class simulations that encourage experiential learning.