Dr. Salil S. Desai

N.C. A&T Professor Selected for Teaching Excellence Award

North Carolina A&T State University professor, Dr. Salil S. Desai, is one of 17 faculty members chosen to receive the University of North Carolina system Board of Governors 2016 Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

An associate professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE), Desai was nominated by a N.C. A&T special committee and selected by the Board of Governor’s Committee on Personnel and Tenure.

“This award is a tribute to my students for their dedication towards learning and education. I would like to thank my colleagues for their continuous support and encouragement to achieve this significant milestone,” said Desai. “I firmly believe that educators have a much larger role to influence student lives by being inspiring role models in all walks of our lives.”

Desai has been an A&T faculty member since 2004. His expertise covers the areas of multiscale-multiphysics modeling, direct-write technologies, nanoimprint lithography, and combinatorial additive manufacturing with applications in biomedical implants, semiconductor electronics and energy devices. He is also the director of the university’s Integrated Nano and Bio Manufacturing Laboratory, a clean room in which students conduct fundamental research toward developing novel nano/bio manufacturing processes for a variety of applications.

A fierce proponent of the importance and essentiality of engineering and engineering concepts in society, Desai adapts a holistic instructional strategy, using a variety of didactical and assessment strategies that prepare students for life beyond the classroom. His intentional, real-world examples compel students to think analytically, independently and within a collaborative learning environment.

He equates educating to “igniting the spirit of inquiry to transcend knowledge that benefits humankind.” Desai’s profound influence on his students extends beyond the classroom and the university, and yields tremendous return.

“Dr. Desai’s targeted and sustained mentoring of African American students via different programs has led to a steady pipeline of minority engineers who have gone on to careers in industry, academia and national laboratories,” said Dr. Tonya Smith-Jackson, ISE department chairwoman.

His work and research has netted more than $5 million from various public and private agencies including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy to develop innovative courses and programs in advanced manufacturing.

Desai obtained his B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Mumbai in India and a M.S. and Ph.D. in industrial engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

Each of this year’s winners will receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a $12,500 cash prize. Desai will receive his award from a Board of Governors member during spring commencement.

The Board of Governors Awards for Excellence in Teaching was established in 1994 and reaffirms the Board’s position that teaching is the principal function of each of its 17 constituent institutions. Additionally, it underscores, encourages, identifies, recognizes, rewards, and supports exceptional teaching within the UNC system.