Dr. Dandekar Receives 2023 Ulys & Vera Knight Faculty Mentor Award | College of Science
March 9, 2023

Dr. Dandekar Receives 2023 Ulys & Vera Knight Faculty Mentor Award

The College of Science congratulates Dr. Sushama Dandekar for receiving the 2023 Ulys & Vera Knight Faculty Mentor Award from the UNT Foundation and Faculty Success! This award recognizes a faculty member who demonstrates sustained excellence in mentoring undergraduate students, graduate students, and/or other faculty.

"I feel deeply honored and profoundly humbled by this extraordinary recognition from the UNT Foundation and Faculty Success," said Dr. Dandekar. "My greatest sense of fulfillment as an educator has come from serving as a pillar of support to all within my circle of influence - students in my own classes, the broader UNT student community and my junior colleagues as well."

Dr. Sushama Dandekar's work as an educator in the Chemistry Department is guided by her overarching goals: to provide her students with varied opportunities to grow into caring, responsible citizens of the world. Through completing her thoughtfully constructed multi-layered assignments, her students discover and appreciate how their course content is relevant to their real-world experiences in fascinating ways. Designed to foster independent learning and collaboration with peers, as well as a nuanced understanding of the role of ethics in all human endeavor, they become better equipped to navigate their future challenges.

"It gives me great joy to help my students pursue their dreams and aspirations, providing guidance and sometimes even 'tough love' as they navigate the inevitable challenges along the way," said Dr. Dandekar. "In my mind, the words educator and mentor are completely intertwined, a critical part of my professional identity."

"Dr. Dandekar is a highly respected instructor in our Department of Chemistry and has a long history of distinguished service to the department, the college, and the university," said College of Science Dean Quintanilla. "She is fully invested in the success of her students. She is most deserving of this award and we are thrilled that she has received this honor in recognition of her excellence in teaching and mentorship."

Since 2004, Dr. Dandekar's annual Personal Statement Workshops have helped innumerable students construct strong application packets for scholarships, fellowships, admission into graduate school and various professional programs. Her mentees, many of whom she stays in touch with, go on to proudly serve society as researchers, physicians, dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists, and of course, as educators.

Dr. Dandekar will be honored at UNT's Salute to Faculty Excellence event taking place on April 23, 2023. This event is hosted each spring by Faculty Success and the UNT Foundation. It is just one of the many ways UNT honors the dedicated faculty members whose innovative research, pedagogy, and service continue our university's tradition of prestige. For more information about the Faculty Excellence Awards and the 2023 winners, please visit https://vpaa.unt.edu/fs/recognition/SFE-award-winners23