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The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT Hosts Faculty Celebration 


On the afternoon of Wednesday, Sep. 28, NJIT held a Faculty Achievement Celebration for 35 faculty and staff who were awarded prestigious teaching awards or received promotions. 

The ceremony was moderated by Atam Dhawan, Ph.D., Interim Provost and Senior Executive Vice President. He credited student achievements for the rapid growth of NJIT and recognition from Forbes and Money Magazine, among others. Yet, he professed, it was the work of faculty as teachers, research mentors, and advisors that had fueled NJIT’s students. “Although students make their own success, it is faculty, administrators, and staff that take the lion’s share in guiding them,” he added. 

University President Dr. Teik C. Lim addressed the crowd afterwards, emphasizing the difference in university culture between the time of his education and that of today’s students. “University education is becoming more customized and holistic,” Lim stated. “In academia, changes are often very slow, but especially in recent years, major changes have occurred and we want to capitalize on the momentum.” 

Today’s students do not want to simply learn lessons and go home, Lim commented. “Students want more today. Learning from industry experts, experiential learning, and learning power skills like presenting, teamwork, empathy, and leadership are some of the experiences they want.” Lim complimented the ability of NJIT faculty to fulfill these needs. “Without faculty, our most precious resource, students would not succeed.” 

Prior to Lim’s appointment as the president of NJIT, he served as the interim president of the University of Texas-Arlington, which has a total enrollment of over 40,000 students. In comparison, NJIT’s students number just over 11,000. However, Lim took pride in NJIT’s high performance. “Although NJIT is a smaller school, the high rank is the result of student success that stems from faculty guidance. This also contributes to social mobility.” In addition, he recognized the larger effect that faculty have on the associated area, stating that the research and achievements of NJIT’s professors have a tremendous economic impact on Newark and the state of New Jersey. 

Excellence in Teaching Awardees 

Daniel Bunker, Department of Biological Sciences. He is a founder of the Urban Ecology Lab and is known for his fairness, rigor, and mentoring. 

Kathleen McEnnis, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering. She has made an impact through her emphasis on the value of discovery. 

Eric Fortune, Department of Biological Sciences. His teaching strategies, humor, and creativity have inspired many students to pursue biology. 

Jaskirat Sodhi, School of Applied Engineering and Technology. Under his leadership, first-year performance and retention in NCE increased significantly. 

Padma Natarajan, Department of Mathematical Sciences. She has achieved an incredible feedback score of 3.85 out of 4.0. 

John Vito D’Antonio Bergatolli, Department of Biomedical Engineering. He utilizes his industry experience to guide students. 

Ludvik Alkhoury, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is a teaching assistant who has provided students with an enthusiastic education. 

Stephen George, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has provided critical support to the department’s academic infrastructure. 

Methi Wecharatana, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has demonstrated a commitment to excellence and mentorship over 40 years. 

Overseers Excellence in Research Lifetime Achievement Award 

Denis Blackmore (posthumous), Department of Mathematical Sciences. He was a researcher who contributed immeasurably to the field of mathematics and NJIT.  

Overseers Excellence in Research Prize and Medal 

Michel Boufadel, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He specializes in environmental fluid mechanics and is an expert on oil spills.  

Overseers Excellence in Service Award 

Nancy Steffen-Fluhr, Director of the Murray Center for Women in Technology. 

Master Teachers 

Sanchoy Das, Newark College of Engineering. 

Junmin Shi, Martin Tuchman School of Management. 

Constance A. Murray Diversity Award 

Lisa Axe, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering. She is creating biologically active filters to degrade contaminants and has been a staunch advocate for underrepresented students. 

Promotion to Distinguished Professor 

Tara Alvarez, Department of Biomedical Engineering. 

Julie Ancis, Department of Informatics. 

Kevin Belfield, Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science. 

Guiling Wang, Department of Computer Science. 

Promotion to Professor 

Ji Meng Loh, Department of Mathematical Sciences 

Darius Sollohub, Hillier College of Architecture and Design. 

Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure 

Matthew Adams, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. 

Matthew Bandelt, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. 

Gennady Gor, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering. 

Murat Guvendiren, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering. 

Vivek Kumar, Department of Biomedical Engineering. 

Samuel Lieber, Department of Applied Engineering and Technology. 

Qing Liu, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. 

Calista McRae, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

Benjamin Thomas, Department of Physics. 

Promotion to Senior University Lecturer 

Catherine Siemann, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

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Mrunmayi Joshi, Managing Editor
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