Kimberly Diaz receives Jon R. and Beverly S. Holt Award for Excellence in Teaching
Dr. Kimberly Khalsa Diaz has been selected as a recipient of the 2024 Jon R. and Beverly S. Holt Award for Excellence in Teaching. Given to just two faculty members annually, the award recognizes individuals who have shown sustained excellence in curricular development and instruction at U-M.
Diaz works tirelessly both in and outside the classroom to provide an engaging, individualized, and inclusive learning environment for all of her students in undergraduate CS courses. A central part of her teaching philosophy is making every student in her classes feel welcome and setting them up for success.
As one instructional aide (IA) described, “Her willingness to invest personal time outside of regular office hours is a testament to her commitment to nurturing students’ growth—a level of support that sets her apart from many other professors.”
Diaz has shown exceptional leadership in spearheading the redesign of EECS 203, Discrete Mathematics, in partnership with the Foundational Course Initiative (FCI). She has played a critical role in developing and implementing course improvements, including increased transparency in grading and feedback, a more inclusive and collaborative learning environment, and enhanced student support. Under her leadership, the restructured course has seen considerable improvements in student experience and success, particularly among women students.
“Kim led the FCI team to thoroughly review every topic in the course and distill it to the key concepts that are most essential for students to learn, and then restructured the lectures around these clear learning goals,” said another IA. “Kim also changed course policies to improve equity, adding grade transparency so students could understand their progress in the course and adding low stakes formative assessments to provide students earlier feedback on their understanding and reduce the grade impact of high-stakes exams.”
Diaz has also demonstrated teaching excellence as a co-PI for the RENEW CS program, which aims to expand the recruitment, retention, and support of women and other underrepresented groups in CSE’s undergraduate programs. This includes implementing substantial structural changes in introductory CS courses, such as adding course sections to ensure lower student-to-instructor ratios, implementing a specialized recruitment and training program for student teachers, and more. In only its third year, RENEW CS has already seen progress in student outcomes in the courses it serves, owing part of its success to Diaz’s exceptional service.
Diaz joined CSE as a Lecturer I in 2017, became Lecturer III in 2019, and was promoted to Lecturer IV in 2023. She received her PhD from U-M in 2011 and previously taught at Concordia University.