Andrew Owens receives CoE 1938E Award

Prof. Owens brought a fresh approach to teaching the enormously popular field of computer vision, while caring deeply about the wellbeing of his students.
Andrew Owens

Prof. Andrew Owens received the 2023-24 1938E Award from the College of Engineering for his excellence as an educator and mentor to students in the department.

“Prof. Owens is an outstanding, creative teacher in the classroom; a genuine, understanding counselor and mentor out of the classroom; and a gifted researcher in the field of computer vision,” said Prof. Jason Corso.

Prof. Owens has taught the foundational undergraduate and graduate computer vision courses in the department since arriving at Michigan in 2020. These include: Computer Vision (EECS 442), Foundations of Computer Vision (EECS 504), and Advanced Topics in Computer Vision (EECS 542). He also introduced the new course, Unsupervised Visual Learning (EECS 598). The first two of those courses have enrollments that regularly top 200 students.

Even in his first year as a teacher, he brought his own flair to EECS 442 by incorporating a new hands-on approach that incorporated contemporary topics like machine learning. He is well-known for continually updating his course material to present the newest and most interesting topics in the field. In his graduate course, EECS 542, he had students prepare lectures about technical papers they were reading to help prepare them for professional conferences and their future careers.

Prof. Owens brings to the classroom his experience as a stellar researcher. He is an internationally recognized leader in computer vision and machine learning, with a focus on the intersection of audio and video modeling and processing. His papers are highly cited, and he produces a wide range of open source software. Two of his papers were selected as conference highlights at the 2023 IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, widely considered to be one of the most important conferences in the field. 

A few fortunate undergraduate students get the opportunity to work with faculty on their research projects, and Prof. Owens is one professor that opens his doors to these students. One student, Fengyu Yang, was first author on a paper presented at the 2022 Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems. Most of the undergraduate students he has mentored have gone on to pursue a graduate degree, while others have joined a startup or gone into industry.

Prof. Owens is currently advising or mentoring 12 graduate and undergraduate students in his research group. His students have appreciated Prof. Owens’ accessibility and the attention he gives to each of them. They also appreciated how much effort he took during the pandemic to make sure they stayed connected, caring as much about their mental health and social growth as they did about their academic success.

Prof. Owens has co-organized several professional workshops at a variety of conferences in his field, and is serving as Workshop Chair for the 2024 IEEE / CVF Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Conference.