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Hurley, Wills Honored with Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Teacher Awards

Atlanta, GA
Jeffery Hurley (left) and Linda Wills

Jeffery Hurley (left) and Linda Wills

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Jeffery Hurley and Linda Wills were announced as the 2021 Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Teacher Awards honorees on April 16 at the annual Eta Kappa Nu Spring Picnic, held at the Texas Instruments Plaza, adjacent to the Van Leer Building and the Interdisciplinary Design Commons. The recipients of these awards are determined by a majority vote of the senior class of the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).

Hurley received the Richard M. Bass/Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Junior Teacher Award and is a senior research scientist in the Electronic Systems (ELSYS) Laboratory at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). He started working as a contractor with the ELSYS Lab in April 2014 and was hired as a full-time employee in September 2016 in the Electronic System Integration Division of ELSYS. Hurley enjoys teaching in ECE and helping when a need arises.

Hurley taught ECE 2036 Engineering Software Design in spring 2019, and he taught ECE 4122 Advanced Programming Techniques for Engineering Applications and ECE 6122 Advanced Programming Techniques during the fall semesters of 2019 and 2020. 

Hurley’s students clearly appreciate his joy and enthusiasm. In fact, it is difficult for students to enjoy and become interested in a class or topic if the teacher does not first show real interest. He tries to create an open, caring environment, where students feel free to ask for help and can also contribute to the success of the class. Hurley is a firm believer in the theory of continuous improvement, and always uses each new semester as a chance to improve both his teaching style and the course material. He would like to thank the ECE and GTRI leadership for the opportunity to teach some of the best and brightest students imaginable. Finally, Hurley would like to thank all of the ECE students who have enjoyed his classes; he is very honored to have been chosen by them for this award.

Wills received the W. Marshall Leach/Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Senior Teacher Award and is an associate professor in ECE. She joined the School’s faculty as an assistant professor in 1996, and prior to that, she was a research scientist in both the College of Computing and ECE. Wills strives to ensure the success of undergraduate students in that critical period when they are beginning to take courses in ECE majors.

She has developed a required core course in computer engineering, ECE2035 Programming for Hardware/Software Systems, which reveals how increasing computational demands are realized on emerging hardware architectures. To engage students in programming, Wills crafts hands-on projects that capture imaginations, promote active learning, and allow freedom to explore many different designs. She creates a space for students to discover and refine their abilities, guided by her genuine interest in their well-being and life goals. Wills is currently a Provost Teaching and Learning Fellow, where she represents the College of Engineering to explore and share discipline-specific practices that support the academic well-being of our students.

Over the years, Wills has received several awards honoring her teaching, including the Women in Engineering Teaching Excellence Award in 2018 and the Richard M. Bass/Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Teacher Award in 2010. Along with Scott Wills, she received the Georgia Tech Class of 1934 Outstanding Innovative Use of Education Technology Award in 2009. Being chosen by the students for the W. Marshall Leach/Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Teacher Award means a great deal to her, and she would like to thank them for this wonderful recognition.

Last revised May 18, 2021