2020 Don Ursino Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Large Classes – Po Ling Bork

Po Ling Bork Teaching Lg Classes Award 2020

Dr. Po Ling Bork, Computer Science

It took Po Ling Bork three times to try university before she felt the draw of academic life. On her third try, when she was probably the busiest she had ever been: a young mother to three small children, working full time running her own business. Bork didn’t have a lot of free time but found her passion in computer science, the content, the courses, the professors, and her classmates. The relationships she built have continued to be lifelong connections. She learned the importance of creating a positive learning experience to help build a sense of belonging.

Bork now teaches Computer Science’s largest class Integrity & Literacy in the Information Age. She brings her enthusiasm to the classroom by making the course content relatable to real world applications, creating networking opportunities, and getting her students excited about the work ahead.

Dr. Bork invites accomplished speakers from the industry to broaden students’ learning experiences, allowing them to bridge what they are learning to the real world. For instance, she has invited a copyright lawyer to speak on Intellectual Property; a professional engineer to speak on Professional Ethics; a Chief Technical Officer and a Chief-of-Staff, Cyber Security from large corporations to speak on Crime and Security.

“In order to create a positive experience, I believe students need to connect with their peers in order to get a sense of belongings. They also need to be reassured that they can be successful by providing a strict but doable structure. Also, students need to be able to relate their learning to real world applications (why learn this topic). Last but not the least, students need to be excited (interested!) about the work ahead. If students are not interested in a given topic, chances are they will not be as successful as they can be. Hence, my course delivery is structured with these in mind.”

The Computer Science department Chair Brian Ross stated in his nomination letter that “I have examined the course reviews for Dr. Bork, and the vast majority of students are highly complimentary and enthusiastic about her teaching methods and presentation of course content. She engages students in material which might often be less than captivating, especially given the mixed audience in this course. In fact, many students (especially those in science degrees) have not experienced this style of course presentation, and they find it to be a refreshing change from the regular instruction model they see in other courses in their programs.”

Despite the course enrolment has doubled since Dr. Bork took over in 2017, she was able to adapt and continue to provide the best learning experiences for her students. The following testimonials are just a small sample from last term (Fall 2020, during the pandemic!).


“Dr. Bork’s makes sure students felt welcome and their opinions heard in her lectures; teaching a class of hundreds in an engaging and stimulating manner.”

“She introduced her own industry connection to students and served as a great mentor for others around her.”

Dr. Bork encouraged students to take ownership of their learning and become active participants

She is passionate about making learning excellent experiences for her students

“Very enthusiastic and engaging, able to hold class’s attention for a full 3 hours. This is very important and in my opinion separates a great professor from decent or okay professors. Lectures were very well done and kept a good balance between dense course content that may be considered boring and keeping the class awake.”

“Great Prof!! Really knows her material and is able to explain it in a way that everybody would understand.”

“This is one of the only courses I would ever recommend as I am usually pretty harsh. Simply due to you being an outstanding professor who is very knowledgeable AND cares for her students. I would recommend this course to absolutely anybody. I learnt important things that will actually help me and I feel more comfortable operating my home business now understanding workplace ethics.”

“During Dr. Bork’s lectures, I found her to be engaging and explained the course content extremely well. I would definitely recommend this course to friends as it was such a good experience and contained interesting information.”

“Dr. Bork’s positive attitude and kindness throughout the whole term was unmatched. I feel very lucky to have had a prof like her who cares so much about her students.”

“Dr. Bork was possibly the best teacher to have as a first-year student, who had no idea what to expect of the university. I would definitely recommend other first-year students to take this class.”

“I would give Dr. Bork’s teaching style a 10/10. I loved how she brought in guest speakers to further our learning and understanding on certain subjects. I would love for Dr. Bork to be my prof again and have already recommended her to my roommates and other friends.”