1.00 Profs Wins APO's Annual Big Screw AwardBy Jeremy Hylton
In the first few weeks of March, students nominate their professors for two very different kinds of awards. There's the Baker Teaching Award, which honors professors with a strong commitment to undergraduate education. And then there's the somewhat more notorious Big Screw Award, sponsored by Alpha Phi Omega.
Professors nominated for the Big Screw are not less skilled or enthusiastic than Baker Award winners, but when they teach classes like Introduction to Computers and Engineering Problem Solving (1.00), with a workload that the Course Evaluation Guide rates at 17 hours a week, students sometimes need to take out their frustrations.
And the professors certainly need a sense of humor and a thick skin.
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Robert D. Logcher '58, who is teaching 1.00 this semester, meets all of the above qualifications and students recognized him last week by giving him the Institute Big Screw Award.
The award lets student pay a penny a vote to choose the administrator, professor, or staff member "who is deemed the most worthy of this award," according to APO rules.
In the process of voting, students raised $453.87 for a charity chosen by the winner - in this case, the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. Students contributed $179.12 on Logcher's behalf.
Students voted at a booth in Lobby 10 that was staffed by APO members from Monday to Friday last week.
"It was a good year. More money was raised this year [than last]," said Henning Colsman-Freyberger '94, Big Screw project chair. "Much thanks goes to the professors."
Logcher said it felt very good to win the award, though he admitted to some mixed feelings. In the end, he chalked it up to a win for 1.00. "I think it's for the course. I think it shows the tradition of really tough courses at MIT," he said. "1.00 is a very tough course and we work the students very hard."
Some professors did a little campaigning for the award. Jacob K. White '80, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, brought a collection jar to the Signals and Systems (6.003) exam on Thursday night. He finished second in the contest, collecting $138.
Logcher did not vigorously campaign for the award. "I mentioned it in class. And I did tell students that since the problem sets have been driving them bananas and they just got hosed on a quiz that they could vent their frustrations," he said.
Finding candidates can sometimes be tricky, Colsman-Henning said. "In the weeks before, we approach individual professors and ask them to consider running. We also ask staff members. These are more reluctant as they can be fired and the professors have tenure," he said.
"One of the main goals is to find high visibility professors so we can raise a lot of money," Colsman-Henning said.