Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Award for the Ohio State University ˗ Aligarh Muslim University Partnership

Sultana Nahar

Logos from Obama-Singh conference

Group photo from Obama-Singh awards
L-R: Anil Pradhan, AMU Alumni Association (AAA) Vice President, OSU Vice Provost of Office of International Affairs, Sultana Nahar, AMU Vice-Chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah, AAA ex-president, AAA current president

On June 25th, Secretary of State John Kerry announced in Delhi the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Awards under the US-India Education Foundation (USIEF) for eight bilateral partnerships, four US-led and four India-led partnerships. The Ohio State University (OSU) and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) partnership for “THE STEM-FACULTY PROJECT: Training the Next Generation of STEM Faculty at Higher Education Institutions in India” was one of the four recipients of US university-led partnerships.

This is a pilot project to lay the groundwork for capacity building in STEM Education and Research (ER) programs at Indian universities in collaboration with US universities. The objective is to meet the urgent and growing need for world-class STEM faculty at higher education institutions in India. India needs to train about 300,000 faculty members for existing and upcoming institutions. The project will establish a Center of Excellence in STEM ER to train in teaching STEM subjects to undergraduate students as well as to conduct state-of-the-art research. The first joint OSU-AMU meeting with the AMU Vice-Chancellor and the AMU Alumni Association (AAA) was held in June in Atlanta where a plan of action was agreed upon.

Aligarh Muslim University is in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and located about 90 miles southeast of New Delhi. It was founded by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan during British rule in 1875 in India to encourage Muslims to pursue higher education and traditionally is a leader in science, particularly in spectroscopy, biochemistry, and medicine.

I initiated a STEM program for education and research in physics at AMU in 2011. The program encourages teachers to achieve excellence in classroom teaching, to provide research guidance to students, to encourage students in their academic performance and to support their research publications. The connection established by the program led to the proposal with Principal Investigator Anil Pradhan. Under the USIEF Obama-Singh Knowledge Initiative award my role is to be the Chief liaison officer from OSU, to consult in the organization of the Advisory and Steering committees for the STEM Center, and to establish connections with other central universities including the University of Delhi, and participate guidance in teaching and research. The aim of the project includes implementation of digital e-learning technologies to reach large numbers of students mediated by current and newly trained STEM faculty at the Center and expand the project by forming an Indo-US consortium of universities.

Dr. Sultana N. Nahar, a Bangladeshi American physicist, is a research scientist in the Department of Astronomy at Ohio State University and an elected member of the FIP Executive Committee.  She has published extensively on radiative and collisional atomic processes in astrophysical and laboratory plasmas, and also worked on dielectronic satellite lines, theoretical spectroscopy, and computational nanospectroscopy for biomedical applications. Sultana Nahar is the winner of the APS 2013 John Wheatley Award. Email: nahar@astronomy.ohio-state.edu

Disclaimer - The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the APS Forum on International Physics Newsletter are not peer refereed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the APS.