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Tennessee Tech University will recognize three professors for their exceptional teaching, mentoring and service during commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 5.

Peers and students alike recognize Sastry Munukutla’s excellence in teaching, describing him as one of the most popular and knowledgeable professors in mechanical engineering. Those attributes led to his nominations and selection as one of two recipients of the 2012 Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching.

“He is not only a teacher, he is a mentor, leader, coach, example and friend. I will always be grateful for what Sastry taught me,” said Thomas Kirkpatrick, a former student of Munukutla.

Munukutla received a doctorate in mechanical engineering at the University of Iowa in 1981. He has taught mechanical engineering at TTU since 1986, and fellow faculty members praise his teaching methods.

“He has the uncanny ability to determine the level at which the students can absorb the advanced material, then deliver it at the optimum pace,” said Y. Jane Liu, associate professor in civil and environmental engineering.

“In spite of all the serious teaching, the classroom atmosphere is always relaxed. Students constantly interact with the instructor by asking questions, which reflects critical thinking,” said Liu.

TTU has recognized Munukutla’s accomplishments before. In 2010, he received the Outstanding Faculty Award for Professional Service. He has received the Caplenor Faculty Research Award, the Brown-Henderson Outstanding Engineering Faculty Award and the Booster Award from the Tennessee section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The second professor to receive the 2012 Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching is Holly Anthony, whom students and colleagues praise not only as an excellent and effective teacher, but also as a valuable mentor. 

“I feel fortunate to have ever been under the tutelage of such a brilliant person,” said Hannah Rawiszer, a graduate student in the exceptional learning doctoral program at TTU. “As an instructor, Dr. Anthony is well educated in her field and promotes a positive and productive learning environment. I appreciate her and regard her with the utmost respect.”

A professor in the department of curriculum and instruction in the College of Education, Anthony teaches secondary education math. She has been at TTU since 2005.

“Mathematics is a challenging discipline in P-12 education,” said Lisa Zagumny, associate dean in the College of Education. “Through her rigorous, yet creative, experiential teaching style, Dr. Anthony actively engages her students to increase their content knowledge and their teaching methodologies.”

Allan Mills, TTU mathematics department chairperson, said Anthony’s methods help fellow professors. “I think mathematics faculty members can learn a lot about pedagogy from Holly.”

Anthony is president of the Tennessee Mathematics Teacher Association and a member of the statewide STEM Education Leadership Council and the Tennessee Implementation Lead Team, which is establishing the next generation of science standards.

She received a doctorate in mathematics education from the University of Georgia in 2005. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Middle Tennessee State University.

Each year, TTU also recognizes a faculty member for professional service; Ismail Fidan will receive the 2012 Outstanding Faculty Award for Professional Service.

Fidan is more than a professor of manufacturing and industrial technology; colleagues say he is a relationship builder. His dedication to the university, the academy and the community inspired faculty members such as Bonita Barger in the College of Business to nominate him for the award.

“He inspires trust and personal development,” Barger said. “His respect of people, his innovations and his dedication to service at the local, state and professional levels is unmatched.”

Fidan is a commissioner and program evaluator in the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology. He is on the steering committee of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers publications, and he serves as a faculty adviser and executive committee member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. He has organized and chaired numerous workshops and conference sessions.

His university service includes membership on the recent College of Engineering dean’s search committee, the faculty senate, the faculty affairs committee and the administrative council. Each year he participates in the Windows on the World festival, and he is involved in community organizations such as United Way and the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee.

“Dr. Fidan has such a productive, hard-working and honest identity, and his contributions are an excellent asset for our major, college and university,” said Ahmed Kamal, associate professor of manufacturing and industrial technology.

Fidan received a doctorate in mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., in 1996. He came to Tennessee Tech in 2000.