UM-Flint Professor Receives Top Honor


Mojtaba Vaziri, professor of physics and engineering at University of Michigan-Flint, has been selected to receive a Distinguished Professor of the Year Award by President Council, State Universities of Michigan. The award recognizes outstanding contributions and dedication made by faculty from Michigan’s 15 public universities to the education of undergraduate students. Each university nominated a faculty member who has had a significant impact on student learning through various media, including work in the classroom, research, advising and mentoring. Vaziri was one of three selected.

“I was delighted to learn that this outstanding faculty member was not only nominated but selected for this achievement award. His selection speaks well for him personally, as well as for our campus,” said UM-Flint Chancellor Ruth J. Persons.

Michael Bolus, executive director of the Presidents Council State Universities of Michigan, said The Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year recognition marks a highlight in the professional lives of faculty among the 15 public universities.

“I am so very pleased that first of all Dr. Vaziri is a faculty member at the University of Michigan-Flint and secondly, that he has been recognized in this way as one of the best professors in the state,” said Provost Gerard Voland, who nominated Vaziri for the award. “This award is extremely well-deserved.”

One of those who wrote a letter of recommendation for Vaziri was D. J. Trela, dean of UM-Flint’s College of Arts and Sciences. In his letter, Trela wrote: “My pride in Dr. Mojtaba Vaziri’s selection as “Professor of the Year” is only matched by my pride in a college and university that value excellence in teaching and learning alongside our commitments to scholarly and creative achievement and engaged service. Mojtaba’s commitment to his students is embodied in everything he says or does at UM-Flint. He has helped forge a department culture that is student-centered; he has focused on program development that has benefited new populations of students, particularly in engineering and computer science; and he has proven a tireless advocate for more resources in support of students and faculty.”

It is not only university administrators who admire Vaziri’s teaching abilities. A former student recently wrote: “You are a true teacher, which is rare in professors, I felt every class you taught in a way that was grounded in understanding. Thank you for a wonderful experience.”

Vaziri’s seeks to create a student-centered environment in which students are actively engaged in the learning process.

“I strive to provide knowledge and guidance in an enthusiastic manner, thereby promoting a positive learning experience for my students,” Vaziri said. “I truly believe that the process of science cannot be learned by reading, listening, memorizing or problem-solving. Effective learning requires active engagement.”

Each nominee will receive a Presidents Council Plaque. In addition, the three choices for Professor of the Year will receive $3,000 to be funded by the President’s Council. The recipients will be recognized on April 12, 2013 during a luncheon to be held at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing.

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