TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Officials of the Southeastern Conference announced Wednesday that Dr. Arunava Gupta, Distinguished University Research Professor, is the 2017 SEC Faculty Achievement Award winner for The University of Alabama.
All 14 SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners will receive a $5,000 honorarium and become their university’s nominee for the overall SEC Professor of the Year Award, which will be announced in April. The SEC Professor of the Year Award winner will receive an additional $15,000 honorarium and will be recognized at the annual SEC awards dinner.
“It is an incredible honor to be selected as UA’s SEC Faculty Achievement Award Winner,” Gupta said. “In the 13 years that I have served as a faculty member at The University of Alabama, it has been my privilege and pleasure to have worked with many wonderful colleagues and to have mentored a large number of bright and talented students.”
Gupta holds a joint appointment in UA’s College of Arts and Sciences and College of Engineering and is the associate director of UA’s Center for Materials for Information Technology, or MINT. During his career at UA, he has received more than $6 million in funding from such sources as the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Defense. He is widely known for his expertise in investigating thin films and nanostructured materials for use in information technology and energy applications.
“Dr. Gupta is one of our finest researchers, teachers, mentors and servants,” wrote UA President Stuart R. Bell in Gupta’s nomination letter. “He was recommended unanimously by our selection committee to be Alabama’s SEC Faculty Achievement Award winner this year.
“In addition to his outstanding research and service, Dr. Gupta’s work with students is equally exemplary. Despite teaching challenging topics and courses that are often unpopular with undergraduate students, Dr. Gupta’s student evaluations are consistently high throughout all his classes. … Students describe him as challenging, supportive, approachable and enthusiastic.”
The SEC has honored faculty at universities within the conference since 2012 for academic achievements in research and scholarship.
To be eligible for the award, faculty within the SEC should have achieved the rank of full professor, have a record of extraordinary teaching and have a record of scholarship that’s nationally or internationally recognized.
Before coming to UA in 2004, Gupta worked at IBM for 18 years as a research manager. Between his work at IBM and UA, he has had published more than 400 peer-reviewed articles in some of the most respected research journals including Nature, Science, Journal of the American Chemical Society and Journal of Applied Physics.
In 2010, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation awarded him Germany’s Humboldt Research Prize, which is given to internationally renowned scientists and scholars and is valued at $75,000 with the possibility of continued support.
In 2011, he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the world’s largest general scientific society. In 2014, he was awarded the Chemical Research Society of India Medal.
Gupta is also a fellow of the Materials Research Society and the American Physical Society as well as a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
The other 13 winners are:
Arkansas, Brian Gallini, Law.
Auburn, Dr. James Barth, Finance.
Florida, Dr. George Christou, Chemistry.
Georgia, Dr. Roberto Docampo, Biology.
Kentucky, Dr. T. John Balk, Engineering.
LSU, Dr. Susanne Brenner, Mathematics.
Ole Miss, Dr. Dale Flesher, Accountancy.
Mississippi State, Dr. Janice Chambers, Veterinary Medicine.
Missouri, Dr. James Birchler, Biological Sciences.
South Carolina, Dr. David Shields, English.
Tennessee, Dr. Suzanne Lenhart, Mathematics.
Texas A&M, Dr. David Bergbreiter, Chemistry.
Vanderbilt, Suzanna Sherry, Law
The Southeastern Conference sponsors, supports and promotes collaborative higher education programs and activities involving administrators, faculty and students at its 14 member universities. The goals of the SECU academic initiative include highlighting the endeavors and achievements of SEC faculty and universities; advancing the merit and reputation of SEC universities outside of the traditional SEC region; identifying and preparing future leaders for high‐level service in academia; increasing the amount and type of education abroad opportunities available to SEC students; and providing opportunities for collaboration among SEC university personnel. To connect with SECU online – www.TheSECU.com; on Facebook –TheSECU; on Twitter –@TheSECU; on Instagram –@TheSECUniversity; and on YouTube — SECUniversity.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.