Words like “enthusiastic”, “passionate”, and “energetic” are used universally to describe the 2012 recipient of the Henry Mason Lutes Award for the College of Engineering.
Dr. Jeffrey Ashley, Jr., lecturer, electrical and computer engineering, received the award for excellence in teaching at the University of Kentucky College of Engineering’s Tau Beta Pi Awards banquet on April 10.
The annual award was established to recognize and reward outstanding teaching accomplishments. Recipients of the award are expected not only to be outstanding teachers, but individuals who are, or, can become, role models for other faculty. Recipients must also have exhibited excellent teaching over a sustained period of time, have exhibited imagination and exceptional dedication to student needs, and demonstrated the ability to challenge and inspire students.
Since 2007, Dr. Ashley has annually won the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Outstanding Teacher award as determined by the student body of the department. His self-described primary teaching objectives include impacting the maximum number of students while maintaining the interest of the top achievers, having his students learn the course material, creating excitement about their majors, creating an environment where the students exhibit discipline and utilize time management skills and developing problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Dr. Ashley’s students, both current and past, describe him as a “wonderful instructor”, “an excited teacher” and an “awesome professor”. One student wrote in his course evaluation, “Dr. Ashley is amazing. He’s engaging and thorough without being dull or redundant. One of the best professors I had in my career so far.” Another wrote, ”Dr. Ashley did an excellent job instructing this course. I only wish half of my teachers taught with the same enthusiasm for course material. He made this one of my favorite lectures to attend and truly stimulated my interest in electrical engineering. Thank you Dr. Ashley!”
A colleague of Dr. Ashley wrote, “Dr. Ashley is clearly an excellent and dedicated teacher and is highly deserving of recognition. Through his outstanding teaching, his contagious enthusiasm and deep and genuine interest in his students, he both challenges and inspires students to achieve excellence and equips those students for success in the classroom and beyond.”
This colleague also wrote, “Dr. Ashley’s consistent high marks for his teaching is particularly impressive because his primary teaching responsibility is teaching the sections of the required courses EE280 and EE281 in the electrical and computer engineering curriculum. It is important to note that, historically, the student’s Teacher Course Evaluations for these courses under other instructors were not high, as these are required coursed and are demanding of students. However, Dr. Ashley had earned the respect and admiration of his students. His standards are high, but he conveys an energy and enthusiasm that engages the students as they master the material. His numerical ratings for these courses average 3.77 on a 4.0 scale, with a range of 3.2 to 4.0. In fact, out of the twenty seven sections he has taught over this period, thirteen times he has received a 3.9 or 4.0. This is outstanding for any class, but especially a required undergraduate course.”
Dr. Ashley has been a full-time educator and researcher within the fields of computer science and computer engineering for the last ten years and possesses a strong background in computer systems, manufacturing engineering, systems theory, electrical engineering, programming and reliability engineering. As an educator, he is responsible for curricula, program development and has taught nearly 20 courses in computer systems, electrical engineering and electrical engineering technology.
Dr. Ashley’s area of research specialization is in Discrete Event Systems (DES) and developing application areas utilizing DES techniques, particularly in the areas of embedded systems, computer control and manufacturing systems. DES research is concerned with issues related to the control, analysis, observation, diagnosis and estimation of discrete-state systems. A discrete-state system may be a manufacturing cell, an embedded system, a traffic network, c computer network, a business process, a set of distributed databases, a set of controllers for a distributed power system, or anything else that can be represented by a finite set of discrete models.
A native of Versailles, Ky. Dr. Ashley was the first college graduate in his family. He received a B.S. in electrical engineering, an M.S. in manufacturing systems and a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Kentucky.