University of Delaware
S. Ismat Shah

Mentor Award

UD's S. Ismat Shah honored for educational leadership


11:33 a.m., March 29, 2012--S. Ismat Shah, joint appointed professor in the University of Delaware Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has received the 2012 Mentor Award by the Society of Vacuum Coaters (SVC).

The award, given annually, cites Shah’s achievements as chair of the SVC Education Committee over the past decade, specifically in expanding the society’s education program internationally and within the organization through ventures on-site and online.

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In particular, Shah helped the SVC organize traditional courses taught at meetings, as well as on-site courses where instructors teach at a designated school or company. He also developed educational models that utilize the Internet to attract international students.

“I introduced a new distance-learning format to the SVC where thin films and surface engineering courses are offered through a web portal to students who live too far away or are otherwise unable to attend the university in person,” says Shah.

In collaboration with Kathleen C. Werrell, assistant dean for engineering outreach, and Nadine Neiger, student staff assistant for engineering academic affairs, Shah offers this course twice a year through UD’s Sakai web portal. The course has attracted global students from countries like Singapore, Thailand, India, Pakistan and Turkey. 

Additionally, Shah organized an SVC international webinar (web-based seminars) program where instructors teach live 2-4 hour courses online. 

Shah is also a recognized leader and mentor at UD. He organized the first Engineering Study Abroad program in 2001, something he continues annually. Under his leadership, students have visited Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, France and Turkey.

“I expose these young students to a world unknown to most of them before joining the program,” says Shah. “Almost all of them return with a greater appreciation and respect for other’s social and cultural values. I consider this true mentorship.”

In 2011 Shah received the University’s highest teaching award, the Excellence in Teaching Award, an honor based primarily on nominations from current and past students. He was similarly honored by the College of Engineering in 2007.

Last fall, Shah was named a 2011-2012 Fulbright Scholar. He traveled to Azerbaijan to conduct research, advise graduate students and teach courses at Baku State University. Through a grant from the National Science Foundation, he and several UD colleagues are also teaching a nanoscience workshop on ethics in the field. Currently, Shah is on sabbatical in Pakistan.

Article by Zac Anderson

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