Briana Bettin: Amazing Achievements

Assistant professor Briana Bettin with Cesar Chavez Academy students

Assistant Professor Briana Bettin of the computer science and cognitive and learning sciences departments was awarded the 2021 Michigan Tech Distinguished Teaching Award. In one year, Bettin accomplished more than many professors do in a decades-long career. Also this academic year, Bettin was inducted into the Michigan Technological University Academy of Teaching

Excellence, which recognizes those who have demonstrated continued dedication to and support of the University’s teaching mission. She received a Deans’ Teaching Showcase Award in January 2022.

“We couldn’t be prouder of Briana and her accomplishments. In her short time here, she has quickly become one of the very best educators that we have at Michigan Tech,” says Dennis Livesay, Dave House Dean of Computing.

Livesay describes Bettin as a dedicated teacher with amazing rapport with her students and excellent teaching evaluations. Further, he notes that her student evaluations have been consistently in the top 10 percent, which he finds impressive for a second-year instructor charged with teaching large sections of introductory programming courses.

Department of Computer Science Emerita Chair Linda Ott attributes Bettin’s success as a teacher to her enormous energy. In Ott’s words, Bettin “works hard to engage students through in-class activities. She really cares about the students and makes sure that they know it. And she makes learning fun by using amusing props such as little rubber ducks in her class. It turns out that these props also give the students something very tangible to help them remember the abstract concepts that we deal with in introductory programming courses.”

“Briana is very concerned about reaching all of her students,” Ott adds. “She really understands that not all of our students are just like us, and she regularly participates in programs that focus on addressing issues of systemic racism and bias.”

“Dr. Bri goes out of her way to make students feel welcome, included, and
valued,” says one of Bettin’s students. “She sparks a perfect balance between showing students empathy and leniency while upholding the prestige of our institution and facilitating the excellence in education that MTU is known for.”

A graduate teaching assistant (GTA) supervised by Bettin echoes this focus on inclusion: “Dr. Bri is a fierce advocate for justice in the classroom; she ensures a high level of coordination between GTAs so students are graded with fairness.”

Bettin completed her PhD at Michigan Tech in August 2020. In Fall 2020, she was hired as an assistant professor for the Department of Computer Science. Her research interests include user experience, human factors, human-computer interactions, and mental models. She is a member of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems’ Centers for Computing Education and Human-Centered Computing.

“I am so grateful and humbled to see my efforts have value to others,” Bettin says. “I hope I can continue to have an impact.”