Best Lecturer 2021: Tom Burdyny (AS)

After being disrupted by corona, the election of the best lecturer by study associations has resumed. And the winner is Dr Tom Burdyny, ‘a recognised example of excellence’.

Tom Burdyny hides eggs at Easter and wears a Santa hat at Christmas. Students adore him. (Photo: Floris Lofty / TU Delft)

Each year, study associations from the various faculties nominate a lecturer for the title ‘TU Delft Lecturer of the Year’. The jury then selects a winner from these nominations. The jury consists of an Executive Board member, the Academic Director of the Teaching Academy, two members of the Student Council and a member of the Study Association Council. This year they bestowed the honour upon Dr Thomas Burdyny who works at the Materials for Energy Conversion and Storage group at the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Dr Thomas Burdyny (Canada, 1987) has been teaching at the Faculty of Applied Sciences for three years: first as a postdoc and then two years as a tenure track Assistant Professor. The Faculty, where he teaches chemical reactor engineering and transport phenomena, had already chosen Burdyny as ‘Teacher of the Year’ for the Molecular Science bachelor programme and the Chemical Engineering master programme. His students say that Burdyny is ‘a recognised example of excellence in teaching to his more senior colleagues’.

Writing on a screen while teaching is an amazing strategy to keep the students’ attention and explain difficult subjects

The motivation letter that his students wrote won the jury over. ‘Tom’s way of teaching is very interactive and enjoyable. Writing on a screen while teaching is an amazing strategy to keep the students’ attention and explain difficult subjects. He is very charismatic, approachable and takes the time for every student. He speaks perfect English and has a great sense of humour. He managed to keep his students’ full attention even during Zoom lectures, he hid little Easter eggs, and he wore a Xmas hat during an online lecture at Christmas. (…) Altogether, as a student you feel like he is trying his hardest to help you instead of just providing you with information. His passion for his job and students makes his courses a real pleasure.’

The Lecturer of the Year was announced on Education Day, Thursday 4 November with fellow lecturers present and invitees from all nominating study associations. In addition to the title, Burdyny will receive a cheque for EUR 6,000 on behalf of TU Delft, of which EUR 5,000 is intended to support his professional development and EUR 1,000 for private use.

Burdyny’s well-known predecessors were: Joris Melkert (AE, 2019), Calvin Rans (AE, 2018), Giulia Calabretta (IDE, 2017). Read their stories on Delta. 

Science editor Jos Wassink

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