Dr. Ahrar Ahmad, professor of political science at Black Hills State University, recently was surprised in his classroom with the announcement that he was selected as the 2007 Distinguished Faculty recipient.

Black Hills State University president Dr. Kay Schallenkamp and BHSU vice president for academic affairs Dr. Dean Myers showed up unexpectedly in a World Politics class this week to present the Distinguished Faculty Award to Dr. Ahrar Ahmad, associate professor of political science at BHSU.

When Dr. Kay Schallenkamp, BHSU president, and Dr. Dean Myers, BHSU vice president for academic affairs, showed up unexpectedly in a World Politics class this week to present the award they praised Ahmad for dedication to university student.

“We wanted your students to be the first to know that you are being recognized with this prestigious award,” Schallenkamp said. “You are an exceptional professor, and we are honored to present the Distinguished Faculty Award to you.”

Ahmad appeared flabbergasted by the award presentation and noted that he was humbled by the designation. Ahmad, who has been teaching at BHSU since 1992, was chosen for his outstanding contributions to BHSU, the state, the nation, and the world.  

Micheline Hickenbotham, fellow BHSU professor who is serving as faculty senate vice president, notes that Ahmad’s scholarship endeavors are in an area that are critical to the world at this time: the compatibility of Islam and democracy.

Ahmad’s contributions to the national and world society are evident in his many publications, invitations to present keynote lectures and presentations, as well as his on-campus activities related to awareness and understanding of international affairs, world religions, and world hunger. In addition to his outstanding work with students, Ahmad is engaged in research projects and plays a vital role in the Chiesman Foundation for Democracy.

Ahmad is actively involved in various university and community events and is a mentor and valued advisor to students. Ahmad has been selected by students as “Homecoming Dad” on three different occasions. He is also frequently chosen for student sponsored panel discussions.

Ahmad received many letters of support from current professors as well as retired professors after being nominated for the award. Fellow BHSU professor Jace DeCory praised Ahmad for his dedication to his work and his students and for his exceptional speaking ability.

“Not only is he an eloquent speaker, he is a deep thinker who is very careful when he speaks. He values the opinions of others, both colleagues and students, in and out of the classroom,” DeCory says. “We are both ‘of color’ (Indians from different places), we have had numerous discussions regarding multicultural concerns and cross-cultural comparisons. It has been intellectually refreshing to be able to share mutual critical issues and possible solutions.”

“Dr. Ahmad’s insight and scholarship are not only known locally, he is frequently invited to speak or participate in debates or discussions throughout the nation,” noted Dr. Tom Cox, psychology professor.

The BHSU Distinguished Faculty Award is presented each spring to encourage and reward outstanding teaching and professional dedication by faculty members at BHSU. The recipient is formally recognized during the spring commencement ceremony and is invited to deliver a keynote address at the following year’s commencement ceremony. In addition, the recipient receives a monetary award for personal and professional growth.