Zaman Wins IEEE Early Career Teaching Award
By Mark Dwortzan
Associate Professor Muhammad Zaman (BME, MSE) has won the IEEE Education Society’s Van Valkenburg Early Career Teaching Award, which recognizes outstanding teaching performance, development of new teaching methods, and curricular innovation.
“He is exactly the type of early career faculty member that we wanted to recognize when the IEEE Education Society created the Mac Van Valkenburg Early Career Teaching Award,” said S. Hossein Mousavinezhad, chair of the Van Valkenburg Award Selection Committee. “It was clear to the committee that he is truly an exceptional teacher and scholar.”
“We cannot underestimate the role of engineering educators in training the next generation of scholars, innovators and practitioners to face the complex and multifaceted global challenges that surround us,” said Zaman. “To meet these growing challenges, we need to be creative, socially conscious and ready to adapt to the changing landscape of higher education. Therefore, I am particularly excited and honored that IEEE Education Society considered my work in engineering education worthy of this honor.”
For Zaman, teaching is a calling and an art. Both at the University of Texas (UT), where he served as assistant professor of biomedical engineering from 2006 to 2009, and at Boston University, his academic home since 2009, he has championed several highly innovative educational practices that range from obtaining frequent, anonymous feedback from students while a course is in progress, to illustrating theoretical course concepts with highly relevant, real-world examples.
As a result, he received the highest award for teaching in the entire UT system (encompassing more than 18,000 faculty members), selection by the BU College of Engineering as a Kern Innovation Faculty Fellow and Innovative Engineering Education Faculty Fellow; and invitations by the National Academies of Engineering to participate in multiple Frontiers of Engineering Education conferences.
Zaman’s influence as an educator extends not only to the College of Engineering, but around the world. As director of the Laboratory of Engineering Education and Development, he engages students in the development of global health technologies for resource-limited countries and works on capacity building and engineering education in these countries.
Despite many publications in leading biomedical journals and talks at prestigious conferences on his research in global health technology and cancer cell migration and metastasis, Zaman regards his greatest accomplishment as his ability to communicate effectively with students, many of whom regale him with end-of-semester thank you cards extolling his positive influence on their lives.
“The ability to be a mentor and guide students and have their trust is something I cherish more than any of my published research papers,” he says.
The award will be presented to Zaman at the IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference in Oklahoma City in October. In July Zaman received another IEEE award, the Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society Early Career Research Award, for work in tumor cell migration and devices for resource limited settings.