Murphy Award winner: Dimitrios Peroulis

May 6, 2010

Dimitrios Peroulis, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering (with computer), talks with a group of students. A frequent recipient of teaching awards, he seeks to find the right methods or combination of methods to reach every student. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)

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Five exceptional teachers were honored with 2010 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Awards in Memory of Charles B. Murphy at the Celebration of Teaching Excellence on April 27 in Purdue Memorial Union. This week, Purdue Today will feature a profile on each of the recipients. Today, we focus on Dimitrios Peroulis, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Peroulis says receiving the Murphy Award has significantly enhanced his motivation and commitment to keep providing students with the best Purdue experience possible.

And motivation is exactly what Peroulis says his students need in order to succeed.

"I have been blessed by having been taught by several excellent teachers in my career and I know well the value that a good teacher can have in a student's life," he says. "Specifically, the motivation and encouragement he or she can provide to a student are simply

Peroulis says every student has a unique personality, learning style and needs. As a result, he finds it challenging to define a lesson that everybody needs to learn. He has practiced a number of new instructional techniques that fit a large variety of individual learning styles. These include interactive in-class laboratories, voluntary weekly discussion sessions outside of normal class time, extended weekly office hours and voluntary sub-group lunches.

These techniques have helped Peroulis win every teaching award available in his department, the highest teaching award of the College of Engineering and the HKN C. Holmes MacDonald Outstanding Teaching Award.

"Peroulis is the best instructor I have ever had," an anonymous student testimonial says. "I have never met a professor who cared more for his students and their success, both academically and in life. His instructional technique is excellent, and his exams are challenging but fair."

Peroulis believes in a learning model that involves a balance of theory and practice.

"Understanding complex concepts often requires a chance to practice and apply problem solving skills from simple cases to real-world problems," he says.

Peroulis adds that this model, when combined with having positive expectations from students, allows for an environment where calculated risk is acceptable and expected.

"I think a great lecture first requires a teacher with the willingness to sacrifice a bit of his or her time and energy in order to invest these into his or her students," Peroulis says. "I think that willingness to adapt to different learning styles is the second ingredient of a great lecture. I try to understand this as early as possible and present the needed concepts in a variety of different ways."