Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science
Brandon Fain is a Ph.D. student in computer science, studying theory and algorithms. Fain received his master’s in computer science from Duke in 2018 and received two Outstanding Teaching Awards from the Computer Science department. Fain has been the co-instructor for a mix of graduate and undergraduate students in Introduction to Algorithms as well as Privacy and Fairness in Data Science. He has also been the lead instructor for a course in the design and analysis of algorithms and a teaching assistant for three other courses. Fain received the Preparing Future Faculty Fellowship in 2018 and is earning his Certificate in College Teaching.
Fain’s teaching focus emphasizes computer science as a form of literacy in the digital age. He strives to integrate application and theory into his classrooms and curriculum, preparing students to solve real-world problems. Additionally, Fain is an adamant advocate for the expansion of undergraduate research opportunities. He is dedicated to building structured undergraduates opportunities to participate in project-based research initiatives. His own research focuses on the intersection of computer science and economics, specifically fair resource allocation, algorithmic game theory, and computational social choice.
“Computer scientists are starting to re-envision the way that they teach in order to think about it as a literacy concern in the same way that an English teacher has to think about not just giving someone the skills to become a novelist but about giving someone the basic skills they need to function properly in society.”
In Their Words
Excerpts from Fain's Nomination
“Brandon is an excellent teacher. He is enthusiastic and willing to work hard to ensure students understand the concepts. He is a very engaging lecturer and is always ready to help students. In addition to all of this, he is a solid theoretical computer science researcher who had published work in top venues in algorithmic game theory.”
“He has used his time at Duke to follow his passion for teaching, moving from being a great TA to getting a certification in teaching, to becoming an instructor for multiple courses. He did all this while pursuing a solid research agenda. That Brandon was able to do this successfully is a testament to his passion and his organizational skills, which will serve him well as he embarks on an academic career.”
“Brandon is an excellent lecturer. Whether he’s presenting a paper or teaching a new concept, he always starts from first principles, ensuring that everyone can follow and learn something. In addition, he always makes himself available to others that are looking for advice or that need help in his course.”