Ram named recipient of 2016 Graduate Faculty Teaching Award

April 22, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Nilam Ram, associate professor of human development and family studies in the College of Health and Human Development, has received the 2016 Graduate Faculty Teaching Award.

The award, established in 1992 by the Graduate School, is presented to faculty members in recognition of outstanding teaching performance and advising of graduate students.

Ram’s efforts to bring together students and faculty across disciplines, his devotion of time in and out of the classroom, and his tireless support of students’ efforts and accomplishments make him worthy of the award, his colleagues said.

Ram co-directs Studio, a trans-college and trans-institution initiative that brings together a wide range of university talents with one common goal: the advancement of knowledge. Colleagues say he’s the heart of the creative endeavor.

“On any given day, it would not be unusual to see social scientists, artists, computer programmers and engineers working together,” said a colleague. “Such collaborations were made possible by the creation of a physical and intellectual space in which disciplinary boundaries were broken down and innovative projects that took advantage of the diverse skill sets were encouraged.”

His students offer similar praise, saying he dedicates countless hours to fostering the growth of his graduate students through advising, collaborating and generating opportunities.

“Nilam (Ram) is an invaluable resource for those who are fortunate to have him as a mentor,” said a nominator.

Ram said he encourages his students to learn by trial and error because, he said, the disappointments and triumphs of study are both rewarding.

“The courses are hard, but the tastes of success — with real data, real programming, code and real output — seem to work,” said Ram. “The students begin shedding their fears of statistics. They become more and more curious and determined to find solution. They find an answer. They want more. They try again. They gain confidence, and eventually they start teaching each other. It’s cool. The culture transforms from fear to desire to discovery.”

Last Updated April 25, 2016