Software engineering professor goes above and beyond for students

September 13, 2022

Headshot of Ruby ElKharboutly

“Extraordinary” was the word mentioned in every letter nominating Professor Ruby ElKharboutly for the Center of Excellence in Teaching award.

In her more than nine years at Quinnipiac as an associate professor of software engineering, she has made a lasting impact on the students that she taught.

ElKharboutly strives to engage students with her lessons so that they are able to get the most out of them.

Lauren Atkinson ’22 said she appreciated the effort and energy that ElKharboutly put into her lessons.

“Professor Ruby goes above and beyond to ensure that her students are understanding the material and understanding what they are doing,” said Atkinson. “Learning to code is one thing, but understanding what you are actually doing is something that Professor Ruby prides herself on.”

ElKharboutly explained that she applies the principles of taking interest in and caring for her students, using innovative teaching techniques and continuously reflecting and improving.

Factors like this make ElKharboutly stand out not only to the students she teaches but also fellow colleagues who are able to observe her passion for education.

Lynn Byers, professor of mechanical engineering and director of mechanical engineering, said she program admires ElKharboutly’s ability to educate.

“She engages her students as well as anyone I have ever known,” said Byers. “She challenges them; she forces them to think deeply about course concepts, about the broader, non-technical aspects of computer science and software engineering and about their roles as future professionals. She gives freely of her time to teach and mentor them outside the classroom.”

To ElKharboutly, having her efforts recognized by the university community is a great achievement in her career.

“I am honored and humbled to be among fellow colleges who embody excellence in teaching and education,” she said. “I have experienced a journey of growth as an educator during my years at Quinnipiac.  My courses have drastically changed over the year as I constantly reflect on my teaching practices, accommodate students’ feedback as well integrate technology and innovation in each course.”

When it comes to inspiration, ElKharboutly said she been able to find it in her surroundings at Quinnipiac.

“I am inspired by challenge and excellence,” she said. “My fellow colleges and mentors at the School of Computing and Engineering are constant inspiration to me. We have a tradition of visiting each other’s classes during the Spring and its one of the best experiences to witness them in class. I learn something new each time I visit one of their classes.”

As her students move onto their future endeavors, ElKharboutly hopes that she can be a person that they can draw inspiration from.

“I wish to inspire my student to achieve their full potential and be driven by passion in their careers as professionals in computing,” she said. “I like to think that my passion for computing and engineering is contagious and that coming to class they feel the same.”

For those looking to pursue a career in education, ElKharboutly reflects on what has proven to work for her.

“Listen to your students and accommodate their feedback in your teaching practices,” she said. “Create an environment of trust and excitement in the classroom to help students succeed.”

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