Manos Kapritsos earns CoE teaching excellence award

Students widely praise Kapritsos' approach to teaching, and commitment to keeping classes engaging.
Manos Kapritsos

Prof. Manos Kapritsos has received the College of Engineering’s Jon R. and Beverly S. Holt Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2021-22, in recognition of his outstanding commitment to teaching and widespread praise of his abilities as an educator.

Students widely praise Kapritsos’ approach to teaching. He emphasizes free exploration and discovery in his classes, even in large lectures, and encourages students to derive the finer details of highly technical subjects on their own after providing them key insight. This technique gives rise to highly memorable lessons, wherein students can independently rediscover features of important algorithms and equations without mechanical memorization. He’s fond of leaving certain questions open to student interpretation, not wanting to “spoil” the intellectual excitement that comes from figuring out the final piece. 

But far from leaving students hanging, he’s known for going above and beyond in his efforts to keep students engaged in his courses, including: memorizing student names and faces in large classes like 482; making it comfortable for students to seek him out for office hours; and visiting and engaging with students in CAEN labs after hours while they work on projects, at times even staying until midnight.

Kapritsos has redesigned EECS 591: Distributed Systems from scratch, covering key topics like resilience in distributed systems, atomic commit and cloud computing, while also bringing in modern topics like blockchains, smart contracts, and formal verification of distributed protocols into the curriculum. 

Kapritsos’ contributions to teaching go beyond U-M. He offers an annual two-week course on formal verification during the summer that is open to all, including people outside the university. Through this and other efforts he strives to educate a community of researchers and practitioners all over the world who can build more robust computer systems that underpin all the cloud services we use day to day.

Honors and Awards; Manos Kapritsos