The University of Houston has presented the Distinguished Leadership in Teaching Excellence Award to Rupa Iyer, PhD, associate dean of research and graduate studies. This award is given to a previous University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award recipient, who in ten or more years of teaching, has made sustained and significant contributions to education. It is the highest award given in teaching and the only one given in this category by UH. University faculty receiving 2016 awards were honored during the Faculty Excellence Award Dinner, April 14, at the UH Hilton.
As the founding director of the biotechnology program in the College of Technology from its inception and creation through full accreditation by The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) in 2015, Dr. Iyer is well regarded for strong commitment to impacting students who benefit from her efforts to incorporate hands-on experience with problem-based learning and lectures. A typical biotechnology student becomes knowledgeable of technologies such as bioreactors and liquid chromatography, skills that are highly valuable to biotechnology employers. In addition to their hands-on acumen, the students receive lecture format training on diverse biotechnology systems and develop presentation skills, enabling them to thrive in the workplace.
"As an alum of the University of Houston and the Biotechnology program, I am truly grateful for the educational excellence I have been afforded. It was through mentorship from faculty, especially Dr. Iyer, I have been able to cultivate a scientific intuition and appreciation for education that will serve me for years to come," said Eric A. Wold ('14), a doctoral student at The University of Texas Medical Branch.
Dr. Iyer has been part of the College of Technology since 2005 as a credentialed associate professor with an impressive curriculum vitae. She was named Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in 2014, in addition to her appointment as the Director for Center for Life Sciences Technology and the founding director for the biotechnology program. Her research is in the area of environmental biotechnology with applications in bioremediation.
Iyer has received a multitude of recognition, awards, and grants for her outstanding contributions to the university and her field. Iyer was recommended for the Fulbright Specialist Roster in 2015 after receiving the endorsement from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and the Institute of International Education's Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES). The Specialist Roster is a prestigious list of experts [in their respective disciplines] who provide assistance with projects requiring their specialized knowledge, skills or research. In addition, she received the University of Houston Excellence in Teaching Award, 2014; Fluor Award for Service Excellence, College of Technology, 2013; Summer Undergraduate Research Award (SURF) Mentor Award, 2013; and the Outstanding Indian Award, teaching, India Culture Center, 2011; among others.