Sridhar Varadarajan, UNCW Associate Professor of Chemistry, Wins 2016 UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching

Monday, March 28, 2016

Sridhar Varadarajan, associate professor of chemistry at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, has won the 2016 UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching.

"I am thrilled, but not surprised, by this award for Dr. Varadarajan,” said Aswani Volety, dean of the UNCW College of Arts and Sciences. “His passion for combining teaching and scholarship provides students with a tremendous experiential learning opportunity, a hallmark of the UNCW educational experience."

Varadarajan joined the UNCW faculty in 2003 and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses. He has been the recipient of a UNCW Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award, a Distinguished Teaching Professorship Award and a Discere Aude mentoring award.

The UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching is presented to an outstanding faculty member at each of the 17 campuses of the University of North Carolina system. Recipients are selected by the board’s Committee on Personnel and Tenure based on nominations from their home campuses. Each winner receives a commemorative bronze medallion and a $12,500 cash award.

UNCW’s nomination noted that all past master’s degree graduates from Varadarajan’s laboratory are either pursuing doctoral degrees at prestigious universities or working in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Additionally, most of the 30 undergraduates who worked in his lab are employed in the chemical industry or went on to pursue graduate, medical, dental or pharmacy degrees, and two became teachers.

“Sridhar is outstanding,” said Pamela Seaton, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “Students flock to him, even for courses such as organic chemistry, which is not an easy class, and medicinal chemistry, a senior-level class. He is a great teacher and mentor.”

Varadarajan earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and a B.S. in chemical technology at Bombay University and a Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry at the Pennsylvania State University.

A member of the UNC Board of Governors will present him with his award during the May graduation ceremonies.

“It is a great honor, and very humbling, to be selected from a department and a university that have so many outstanding teachers,” Varadarajan said. “The students at UNCW have made it a joy to teach here.”

-- Tricia Vance