Dr. Jason Daida, a visiting lecturer from the University of Michigan, who had come to teach at JI every summer since 2007, passed away in Ann Arbor on January 9, 2013, after several months of illness.

It was Dr. Daida who unveiled VG 100:Introduction to Engineering, the most popular freshmen course, to JI in 2007 and had been teaching it every summer since then. He applied his research (in the theory and application of computational intelligence supporting open-ended problem solving, discovery, and innovation) to improving curriculum and instruction in the areas of complex problem solving and team learning/teaching. His classes focused on team projects dealing with technical, economic, safety, environmental, and social issues. His courses also covered the role of engineers in society, engineering ethics, and organization skills for effective teams. As a recognition of his work, he earned Teaching Excellence Award from the UM College of Engineering.
Prof. James Holloway, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, College of Engineering, University of Michigan, announced the sad news to UM, SJTU, and JI last Thursday. He remarked, “Jason was a beloved teacher of many of our first year students and made a real difference in their lives. This superb researcher was well known as an innovative, friendly, and compelling teacher…. Jason’s loss is tragic, but he had such a positive impact on so many, that truly his life was blessed.”
In his condolence to Dr. Daida’s wife, Sandy, Dean Ni reminisced about six years ago when Jason taught at JI for the first time; how JI students were so impressed with his dedication, his effective teaching style, and his care towards all his students that they painstakingly gave him a surprise farewell at the Pudong Airport. Dean Ni wrote,“Jason was such a great teacher who had made a huge impact on many students. He had become a star among our JI students.”
Prof. Peisen Huang, JI’s Deputy Dean, announced the painful news to the JI community. He considered Dr. Daida’s contribution to JI’s development immeasurable. He wrote, “While it is sad that Jason left us forever, his legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of those whose life were touched by him.”
A JI student who had attended his class once remarked, “I love his class! He is a helpful professor, charming and appealing, and gives the best class ever.” Students who have taken his class always recall what they have learnt in VG100 even after graduation. His lectures about the environmental problems and teamwork can be applied in various careers.
Last fall when the JI community heard of Dr. Daida’s illness, many of his colleagues and students sent him cards to wish him a speedy recovery and hope he would return to JI next summer. Now, the JI family is heart-broken to know it is no longer possible, but Dr. Daida’s bright smile and inspiring spirit will be forever etched in everyone’s memory.
Please join us to share your memories and express your condolences Memorial webiste for Jason Daida