Dr. Mark Freilich and Kriangsiri “Top” Malasri received the 2012 Thomas W. Briggs
Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award at the University of Memphis. The award recognizes
teaching excellence at the undergraduate level and overall commitment to undergraduate
The 2012 Thomas W. Briggs Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award at the University
of Memphis went to Dr. Mark Freilich (left) and Kriangsiri Malasri. (Photo by Susan
Freilich, an associate professor of chemistry, and Malasri, an instructor and advising
coordinator in computer science, received their $7,500 awards during the University’s
annual Faculty Convocation April 20.
Freilich, who joined the U of M in 1985, teaches courses for both chemistry majors
and non-majors. Students praise him for presenting challenging material with patience,
encouragement and humor. One student called him a fantastic teacher who should be
cloned and used to teach all the chemistry courses. “I walked away from his course
with a slight love of chemistry, which is a long way from hating it initially,” the
student said. Another noted, “He is incredibly patient and helpful, both in and outside
of class. His lectures are always clear and interesting, and he does everything possible
to help his students understand the material.”
A graduate of Brooklyn College, Freilich earned his PhD from Purdue University.
Students highly rate Malasri for his enthusiasm and compassion. “It’s unbelievable
how proficient Mr. Malasri is as an instructor,” said one former student. “He presents
the material in such a lively and informative way that makes coming to class very
enjoyable.” A student from last fall said, “He completely explains all the material.
The tests accurately reflect what we’ve been taught, and programming assignments were
challenging and fun. I’d find myself staying up all night, spending 20+ hours on a
single assignment, not because of a deadline but sheer interest in the project.” A
student from last spring added, “Very personable and friendly. Helpful all the time.
I sent him an email late on a Friday night and got a reply the next morning.”
A graduate of Georgia Tech, Malasri earned his master’s in computer science from the
U of M.
The Briggs Award, established in 1996, is named for the founder of Welcome Wagon International.
Nominees are judged on the basis of teaching skills, classroom performance, their
role in the overall development of undergraduates, and the results of student rating