The American University in Cairo (AUC) awarded three of its faculty members the Spring 2015 faculty merit awards, in honor of their efforts to enrich the student experience and to their service to the AUC community. The awardees are Pandeli Glavanis, professor of practice and director of the Academic Community Engagement program, George Marquis, associate dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and senior instructor of rhetoric and composition and Nageh Allam, associate professor of physics.Glavanis received the Excellence in Teaching Award for effectively incorporating technology and adopting new approaches in his teaching, including having his students prepare original multimedia projects that are disseminated through a class wiki. He also conducted a workshop, Engaging Students in Creative Multimedia Production, with the American University of Kosovo in March 2014. “Student-centered, interactive and critical pedagogy can benefit from new learning technologies if chosen correctly and as a result of a pedagogic need,” Glavanis noted. “These learning technologies enable communication and interaction between many to many, which is impossible otherwise, and enable students to engage their creativity in responding to academic problems. In this respect, a significant amount of self-learning must be included in the teaching approach, as well as opportunities for students to explore issues and sources on their own.”
As a recipient of the award, Glavanis is “delighted” that his academic peers and students recognized his efforts in enhancing his teaching strategies over the past few years. “Teaching and facilitating student learning is my primary passion in higher education,” he affirmed. “The recognition has given me a further good basis on which to continue to develop and enhance my teaching strategies and provide students with the best possible environment within which they can enhance their own critical and in-depth learning.”
Marquis received the Excellence in Academic Service Award for serving on numerous committees at the school and University levels in diverse areas ranging from assessment, advising and admission to research and academic integrity. He also headed two task force committees, one responsible for the establishment of the Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment in 2013 and the other dealing with summer-winter instruction in 2014.
“Participating on committees and task forces that cover a broad range of concerns at AUC has helped me to better understand the University’s overall mission,” he said. “In addition, being invited to serve on many different committees has provided me with opportunities to work with and learn from colleagues in other disciplines and schools. The increased exposure to different perspectives has helped me make more informed decisions in my other roles at the University.”
Happy to be recognized, Marquis, who also received the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2012 from AUC, described the faculty merit award as a “great honor.” “Over the past several years, I have been invited to serve on a number of committees and task forces, and I have been fortunate to have been given opportunities to play increasingly central roles over time. The award is an acknowledgement of the value of my contributions in these areas of service to the University,” he said.
On the other hand Allam, who joined AUC in 2011 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received the Excellence in Research and Creative Endeavors Award for his research on the conversion of solar energy to electricity and clean, renewable fuels. The multidisciplinary nature of his research combines nanoscience, physics and chemistry. “Our main goal is the development of renewable, low cost energy technologies that are suitable to our climate and environment,” explained Allam. “The energy materials laboratory at AUC is focused on designing, synthesizing and understanding materials for their application in solar energy conversion and storage.”
In recognition of his accomplishments, Allam received the Misr El-Kheir Foundation Award for the best publication of the year in 2012, was granted the Egypt State Award in Advanced Technological Sciences in 2013 and was recognized by the National Research Center for the best publication in 2014. Most recently, he received the 2014 Abdul Hameed Shoman Award for Young Arab Researchers. “Winning the Excellence in Research and Academic Endeavors Award is a remarkable feeling,” he said. “You work hard every day, but sometimes wonder if anybody notices. The award lets you know that people definitely notice. Just being a player within the large AUC community of dedicated and highly capable individuals is a great experience. The award has inspired my continued pride in our excellent institution and sustains my continued best efforts.”