The University of North Texas celebrated four faculty members for their dedication to excellence through research, service and education as part of the ninth annual Salute to Faculty Excellence and Promotion and Tenure on Oct. 23.
The virtual ceremony was supported by the UNT Foundation, which accepts, invests, and manages private gifts, endowed funds and other assets for the benefit of the university, including faculty and students.
Dr. Sushama Dandekar, a principal lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, is the winner of the Outstanding Lecturer Award, the highest honor awarded to UNT lecturers.
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.
She also invites highly accomplished former students to serve as volunteer study group leaders - they lead weekly discussion meetings with small groups of students to help them master organic chemistry. Her own weekly meetings with these student leaders allow her to nurture their innate human desire to make a difference in the world around them. As they blossom into confident young men and women who find joy in mentoring their peers, it has a ripple effect on their mentees - they too become inspired to make a difference in their own ways. This unique program, which she started in 2004 with just 5 study group leaders, now has 40+ leaders - they all wear the mantle of "Study Group Leader" as a badge of honor.
Since 2004, her 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!
For her multifaceted service to UNT, Dr. Dandekar was honored with the College of Science 2019 Service Award. She is an avid reader, enjoys travel and has a passion for cooking.
Read about all the UNT Faculty Excellence Winners at UNT News.