NJIT professor gets teaching award thanks to students' rave reviews

04/25/05

Joga Rao, PhD, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), recently received the Newark College of Engineering (NCE) Excellence in Teaching Award, given annually to a professor whose teaching has had a life-long impact on students.

Rao, of Clifton, received the award during the NCE awards banquet held April 8 at Newark Airport's Marriott Hotel.

"Rao is a faculty member who is an inspiration to engineers," said Nadine Aubry, PhD, distinguished Jacobus professor and chair of the mechanical engineering department.

"As a junior faculty member," Aubry added, "Rao has been one of the best educators in the mechanical engineering department. From the beginning of his teaching career at NJIT, he has achieved a perfect score of 4.0 in several student evaluation categories. He is a productive researcher with several grants - including one from the National Science Foundation. And his integration of his research into his classes is of great value to students. He is also currently advising three doctoral students and several masters' students as part of his research grants."

Rao joined the mechanical engineering department in spring 2000 with an outstanding background in fluid and solid mechanics. His excellence in teaching appears not only in student evaluation scores but also in student comments such as this one: "Dr. Rao is one of the best ME instructors I have had."

Rao is passionate about teaching students from all backgrounds, said Aubry. He strongly believes that his role is not only to teach but also to serve as guide and mentor and to personally interact with students. His impressive teaching method works inductively, whereby his lectures begin with specific examples, experimental observations or data and then proceed to the more general theory and even prediction of theory. He is also a strong proponent of cooperative learning.

"In essence, Rao's dedication and success in teaching make him extremely deserving of the NCE Excellence in Teaching Award," said Aubry.

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