Dorairaja Raghu, PhD, professor in NJIT's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, received the Excellence in Upper Division Undergraduate Instruction Award on Sept. 15, 2010 at the NJIT University Convocation, an awards ceremony with a special welcoming ceremony for the freshman class. The event was held on Lubetkin Field at J. Malcolm Simon Stadium, on the NJIT campus. A reception for the award winners followed.
Traditionally, this event honors select NJIT faculty, staff, and students who have demonstrated the highest level of excellence over a sustained period. "We reward them not only for their achievement, but because their leadership serves as a testament to NJIT's commitment to excellence," said Ian Gatley, PhD, provost.
C. Stephen Cordes, managing director and member of the executive board of ING Clarion Partners, a leading investment advisory firm specializing in real estate, in New York City, delivered the keynote address. Cordes, who received NJIT's Edward F. Weston Medal for Professional Achievement last fall, graduated from NJIT in 1972 with a BS in industrial engineering. He heads the private equity real estate portfolio management group with assets under management of $23 billion. He holds a master's degree in public administration from Rutgers University and is chairman of the NJIT Albert Dorman Honors College Board of Visitors.
The citation read as follows:
Dorairaja Raghu summarizes his teaching philosophy with this astonishing statement: "The first principle of teaching is that nothing can be taught." By this he means that rote lectures and spoon-fed texts that don't engage the student do not lead to learning. His career in teaching has been an on-the-job education in how to teach, and he has mastered this subject so well that his department considers him "a role model for effective teaching." His approach is to challenge students with leading questions in order to draw them into the discussion. Successful teaching must be rooted in mutual respect, he argues, which has to be earned, not demanded.
In a career spanning over thirty years and covering eight different courses, Dr. Raghu is widely praised as a meticulously prepared, dedicated and motivational teacher in the field of geotechnical and foundation engineering. Students respond to his emphasis on design, an approach rooted in his own prior experience in industry. His course evaluations consistently rank among the top in his department and include a number of large classes, where a teacher's ability to communicate is put to the test. Students even wax rhapsodic about his soil mechanics lab course ─ a high accolade indeed.