Mohamed Wiem Mkaouer

2016 Engineered to Educate


What makes you a Difference Maker?

To make a difference you need to clearly define your highest goals and learn how to go beyond your abilities to fulfill them. The key to doing so is to be passionate and completely committed to your learning duties—not only as a student, but also as a researcher with growing knowledge. To be a Difference Maker is to simply be able to love for others what you love for yourself and to give to others as much as you give to yourself.

Campus Achievements:

As a Ph.D. student, I was able to set an exemplary record in fulfilling all my graduate courses and Ph.D. written and oral exams in three years. My academic performance was rated “Outstanding,” and I maintained a 4.0 GPA.

As a teaching assistant, the department required me to be a grader and a lab assistant. Since I had an unlimited passion for education, I have been striving hard to improve my teaching skills and I ended up being the main instructor for several CIS courses such as Software Engineering and Algorithms Design and Analysis. My courses’ evaluations were consistently one of the highest evaluations scored in the department! I’m proud that I have contributed in the learning process of more than 300 students and I was able to gain their satisfaction along with the department’s confidence.

As a research assistant, I was concerned with optimizing existing software engineering tools to help developers enhance the quality of their software systems and give them a better software maintainability experience. My research led to several methodologies that are applicable across a variety of different software engineering problem areas and can handle missing, incomplete and conflicting evidence and objectives. As it has been rated of a high impact on the future of software engineering, my research has been published in top IEEE/ACM software engineering venues and also earned the best paper award in 2015 in the most prestigious and selective software engineering journal: ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodologies (TOSEM).

I owe this success to the fortune of being surrounded during my three doctoral study years by amazing faculty such as Assistant Professor Marouane Kessentini, Department Chair Bill Grosky and Associate Professor Bruce Maxim—these faculty members enhanced both my educational and research experience at University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Leadership Achievements:

The definition of a leader is the ability to narrow the hierarchy/distance between you and your tiers to be as close as possible to them in order to show them how to improve and be better students and future engineers. That’s why I conduct the open door policy to allow my lab mates and other students to easily reach me whenever they have questions or concerns regarding any aspect or any topic. Also, as a senior member of the Search-Based Software Engineering Laboratory, I regularly assisted several master’s and Ph.D. students during their research.

During my doctoral studies, I was able to build several collaborations with various professors and students from other international universities in Ireland, Japan and Canada.

My Ph.D.-heavy duty has not prevented me from taking some time to raise the awareness of coding among youth, women and underrepresented students of color. I’ve been regularly volunteering in the Hour of Code global movement, which is held yearly in primary and elementary schools in order to introduce software programming to young students and give them the opportunity to learn more about computer science.

It is with pride that I have been an active member in the design and organization of several events launched by the Alliance of Disability Awareness, as it serves the noble cause of providing educational and social opportunities to students with disabilities and promoting an increased awareness within the community of the abilities we each have.

What is your Dream Career?

I want to be a man of education who can inspire students and build the path of their success—I believe education is not a preparation for an upcoming life; education is life itself. As a computer scientist and a teacher, it is my responsibility to challenge and support my students in pursuit of their goals.

Moreover, as the field of software evolution is filled with difficult problems and exciting challenges, I will continue the fight for improving software quality by arguing for better software maintenance practices and proposing more efficient methods to assist software developers and the engineering community with their daily tasks and routines.

What was a Defining Moment at UM-Dearborn?

One of the unforgettable moments in my life is when one of my students came to me and said, “I was able to get a job thanks to the tools you demonstrated to us in class!” At that moment, I felt like flying out of joy as if I’m the one who got the job. That’s when I realized that my success is definitely measured by the success of my students and I decided to devote myself to education— just like my parents did before.