Joel Sokol, Fouts Family Associate Professor, has received the Class of 1940 W. Howard Ector Outstanding Teacher Award for teaching excellence including extraordinary efforts in teaching, inspiration transmitted to students, direct impact and involvement with students, intellectual integrity and scholarship, and impact on post graduate success of students.
Combining rigor with dedication, respect, and friendship, Sokol is a cornerstone of Georgia Tech’s leadership in industrial engineering education. The excitement that encompasses Sokol while teaching is palpable to his students. They say he comes to class with the purpose of teaching and a goal for every student to understand the topic. Sokol’s students express life-long appreciation of their Georgia Tech education and he continues to mentor his students, both graduate and undergraduate, even after they leave Georgia Tech. His former mentees include not just PhD students at top universities and successful engineers and consultants, but also prosperous entrepreneurs, military officers, vice presidents and directors across at least four continents.
Sokol has helped revamp the Senior Design curriculum, developed or co-developed five new courses, and created new course materials for optimization and logistics courses at multiple levels. His materials have been requested and used not only by colleagues at Georgia Tech, but also at MIT and several other universities. Sokol’s teaching has even reached the popular press: his use of The Simpons TV show to illustrate game theory concepts is mentioned in Simon Singh’s book: The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets.
Since joining Georgia Tech in 1999, Sokol has been an outstanding teacher in all facets of the profession. He has won recognition for curriculum development and educational technology, and he has held national leadership positions in education. Sokol has proven to be an impactful teacher time and time again as well as a mentor to undergraduates and graduate students alike.
Industrial and Systems Engineering