Students enjoyed pizza in the home of Tim Urness, professor of computer science, collaborating to solve complex coding problems. The gathering was a practice for a regional programming competition this fall.

Urness was the recipient of the 2018 Madelyn M. Levitt Excellence in Teaching Award. Both students and faculty nominated Urness for the honor, citing his enthusiasm for the discipline, his passion for developing the students, and his geeky humor. His personal relationships with students are one of the hallmarks of a Drake education, and reflect the mentorship students find in professors at Drake University, across academic units.

A nominating professor shared some of the comments left by students in evaluations for Urness’ courses that further explain his teaching style and impact on students:

“Easily the most engaging, stimulating, interesting course I’ve had”
“I loved coming to class”
“I liked how much he loved teaching”
“Hard class, great professor”
“One of my all-time favorites”
“Best college course I’ve taken”
“Really cares that we understand”
“I tell all my friends to take this course”
“In my four years at Drake, I’ve never had a professor as organized, talented, and excited for class as Urness. I am leaving with a new interest in computer science.”

Learn more about the computer science program at Drake University and its faculty at