Teaching is this Engineering Professor’s Passion
Dr. Rambod Rayegan is the 2018 recipient of the Roy G. Perry College of Engineering Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award.
“The award is given out once a year during National Engineers Week, or E-Week,” said Rayegan, an assistant professor in Prairie View A&M University’s Mechanical Engineering Department. “To qualify, you have to submit a portfolio, including your achievements, and student and supervisor feedback through evaluations, comments, letters, and emails. If they are satisfied with what you’re doing as a teacher, it’s great. It means you’re doing a good job.”
Rayegan joined PVAMU in the fall of 2013, after spending a few years teaching at the University of North Texas. Before that, he taught in his home country of Iran at Semnan University. “My present career kind of began by accident. I was working at a company in Iran, and one of my interns recognized that I had the gift of teaching,” said Rayegan. “He recommended that I apply for an adjunct position at Semnan, and I ended up working there for five years before coming to the U.S. to get a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering.”
During his time here at PVAMU, Rayegan has been vigorously working to improve undergraduate STEM education. “In 2015, I was awarded an NSF grant to develop and implement a technical elective course,” said Rayegan. “With this course, and with every course I teach, I start with a big picture, what students should know about my class, why they need to take it, and how it plays a role in their degree plan. I do a similar introduction at the beginning of each chapter and each session in my courses. My students have told me that this “Big Picture” technique helps them a lot.”
Rayegan also says the book, “The A Game: Nine Steps to Better Grades,” is a significant game-changer. “When PVAMU began The A Game initiative a few years ago, I realized that I was already advising students to do many of the things listed in the book,” said Rayegan. “Students should be attentive in class, study and work on every suggested problem. I really hate the sentence, ‘I have a dumb question.’ Because, in reality, nothing is dumb! We are all constantly learning.”
And Rayegan says his students are what keeps him going. “What profession is better than teaching? It’s more about people than money, unlike most industries. The teaching environment is one that is joyful and one that I am proud to be a part of.”
-This story by Marchita Shilo originally appeared in Academic Insights.