Professor David Yao wins Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching

May 29, 2024

Professor David Yao has been selected as a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching for 2024. 

As the Piyasombatkul Family Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR), Professor Yao has been among Columbia’s most beloved teachers for over 40 years. He has demonstrated exceptional leadership in creating and developing academic programs that have made profound and lasting contributions to the IEOR department, the School of Engineering, and the University as a whole by forging connections with universities worldwide, ensuring that Columbia remains at the forefront of academic excellence. 

Students consistently praise Professor Yao for his unwavering dedication to their success. His deep care for his students is evident in his well-organized lectures, meticulous preparation, and engaging classroom delivery. Known for his approachability and patience, Professor Yao uses insightful examples that make abstract theories tangible. Many students regard his classes as some of the best Columbia offers, often citing them as pivotal in their academic journeys. Students leave Professor Yao’s classes well-equipped to thrive in their future endeavors. 

Professor Yao's research and teaching interests include operations research, applied probability, stochastic systems, and financial engineering/technology.  Author/co-author of over 200 scientific publications, he has been a principal investigator of over thirty grants and contracts from government agencies and industrial sources and holds eight U.S. patents.

The Presidential Awards for Outstanding Teaching were established in 1996 to honor excellence in teaching at the University. The Columbia community is invited to submit nominations, from which the finalists are chosen. More information, including other award recipients, can be found here.