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Jensen Wins 2022 College Outstanding Teaching Award

David Jensen
David Jensen

Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences Professor David Jensen has been selected to receive the college’s 2022 Outstanding Teaching Award, an honor given annually to a faculty member who demonstrates excellence and creativity in teaching, a positive impact on their students, and a mastery of their subject. This marks Jensen’s second time receiving such an honor, after being granted an Outstanding Teacher Award from the UMass Amherst College of Natural Sciences in 2011.

Candidates for the award were selected based on nominations submitted by students. His course, Research Methods in Empirical Computer Science (COMPSCI 691DD), has been described as life-changing by students, giving them direction and confidence through a better understanding of research and how to be successful at it. As one student evaluator said, “I felt like I learned more practically about being a researcher in that class than I have in the past two years.” In another example, a student said, “My understanding of research is practically night and day compared to when I started the course.” Other students echoed these sentiments, calling Jensen “articulate,” “enthusiastic,” and “deeply invested in preparing his students to become excellent researchers.” 

Beyond his work in the classroom, Jensen directs the UMass Knowledge Discovery Laboratory, which he founded in 2000, and he is currently completing a multi-year term as the director of the UMass Computational Social Science Institute. His research focuses on machine learning and causal inference for analyzing large social, technological, and computational systems, and is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and a variety of industry sources.

Jensen joined the computer science faculty of UMass Amherst in 1995, after serving as an analyst with the Office of Technology Assessment, an agency of the United States Congress, from 1991–1995. He received his doctoral degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1992.