NJIT Professor Raj Khera wins teaching award


Raj Khera, PhD, professor of civil and environmental engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), recently received the Saul K. Fenster Innovation in Engineering Education Award, which is given annually to a professor whose creative teaching has had a positive, life-long impact on students.

Khera, of Freehold, received the award during the NCE awards banquet held April 8, 2005, at Newark Airport's Marriott Hotel.

Upon presenting Khera with the award, John Schuring, PhD, chairman of the civil and environmental engineering department, described him as "an outstanding instructor who genuinely cares about his students."

"He exemplifies the true spirit of a technological university," Schuring said. "He is a true researcher as well as an excellent teacher."

Khera is as comfortable teaching state-of-the-art techniques to graduate students as he is teaching fundamental engineering principles to undergraduates, Schuring continued.

Because of his theoretical background and his expertise in applied engineering projects, Khera has stayed well ahead of the curve, added Schuring. His progressive thinking is demonstrated in his textbook, in his ability to develop and teach new courses based upon state-of-the-art theory and practice in geotechnical engineering, and in his early and continued use in his classes of computer applications.

Khera's course evaluations consistently rank among the top of the department faculty, said Schuring. The comments that students make about Khera are impressively positive, with repeated compliments such as he is "interesting," "patient," and "encouraging." Some students even write that one of Khera's courses, Soil Mechanics Laboratory, is the best class they have taken at NJIT.

Khera made pioneering use of the Internet in his classes; he was the first in the department to maintain course web sites, which he has done for more than a decade. He was also the first faculty member to make extensive use in his classes of Power Point lectures.

"Being exposed to the theory of how something behaves is one aspect of learning, but seeing how theory relates to the real world is a priceless benefit for students," said Schuring. "Raj accomplishes this through his wealth of practical knowledge, genuine caring, and the uncanny ability to adjust his instruction techniques to the learning capacity of his students."

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