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Dr. Kay Schallenkamp, Black Hills State University president (far right), along with the BHSU community, recently gathered to honor three professors who received awards of excellence. Tom Termes, (left) assistant professor and chair of the department of Industrial and Informational Technology, was recognized for receiving the Educator for the Year by the South Dakota Association for Career and Technical Education; Dr. Ahrar Ahmad, who was unable to attend since he’s currently in Bangladesh as a senior Fulbright Scholar, was named Carnegie Professor of the Year for South Dakota; Dr. Betsy Silva, (center) associate professor and chair of the division of Physical Education and Health, who was recently named the College Teacher of the Year Award from the South Dakota Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, were all recognized.

During a surprise announcement yesterday Dr. Ahrar Ahmad, Black Hills State University political science professor, was named the Carnegie Professor of the Year for South Dakota. Also honored at a reception hosted by BHSU were Dr. Betsy Silva, who recently was recently named South Dakota College Teacher of the Year by the South Dakota Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (SDAHPERD)  and Tom Termes, who was named “Educator for the Year” by the South Dakota Association for Career and Technical Education (SDACTE) last summer.

Dr. Kay Schallenkamp, president of BHSU, noted that the three awards reflect the high level of commitment and teaching excellence shown by BHSU faculty members.

“This is a proud day for Black Hills State University,” Schallenkamp says. “I’m proud of these professors who have been recognized for their exceptional efforts and I commend all faculty members and everyone at Black Hills State University for all you do to transform the lives of students.”

Ahmad, who is currently teaching and conducting research in Bangladesh, as a senior Fulbright Scholar, joined via phone to make some comments even though the time difference and hurricane conditions made communication difficult. Ahmad has been a member of the faculty at BHSU since 1992. 

The U.S. Professors of the Year Program salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country—those who excel in teaching and positively influence the lives and careers of students. Sponsored by CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, it is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.

Ahmad is an epithet for this teaching award as evidenced by his strong support from students, alumni, and fellow professors. Last year Ahmad was also  chosen by his peers to receive the annual BHSU Distinguished Faculty Award.

Ahmad expressed his appreciation of the award and thanked all of his students and colleagues at BHSU.

“I feel humbled and grateful. Very seldom have so many people contributed so much, and so unselfishly, for the honor granted to one. I am, truly, overwhelmed,” Ahmad said. “Most of all I would like to thank my students for challenging me to be my best and rewarding me with their achievements.”

Dr. Betsy Silva,  BHSU associate physical education professor, was recognized for her recent designation as the South Dakota College Teacher of the Year by the South Dakota Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (SDAHPERD). She received the award at the SDAHPERD annual conference this fall.

Silva, who also serves as the chair of the Department of Physical Education and Health at BHSU, was honored for her teaching excellence, utilizing a variety of teaching methods, planning innovative learning experiences, serving as a positive role model by epitomizing personal health and fitness, exemplifying sportsmanship, portraying sensitivity to the needs of her students, and providing service to the physical education profession through leadership, presentations, and scholarship.

Silva previously received the South Dakota Honor Award and the nine-state Central District Honor Award from the AHPERD. She has also served as president, elementary vice president, and secondary vice president of the association and as convention manager for the joint South Dakota/Wyoming conference. She was also a member of the state conference convention team three times.

Tom Termes, assistant technology professor at BHSU, was named “Educator for the Year” by the South Dakota Association for Career and Technical Education (SDACTE) last summer. This is the first time that a BHSU instructor has received this prestigious award, which is rarely given to a university level instructor. As a state winner Termes will be entered in the national competition. Termes was selected for this recognition because of his work with distance learning.

Termes developed a plan in 1998 to teach electronics to high school students using the internet. As a result of his efforts over 800 high school students have been able to participate in high quality, rigorous electronics courses. The online program also suits the needs of rural school districts that don’t typically have the resources to support high tech instruction, such as electronics.

Termes has been a member of the BHSU faculty in the department of Industrial Technology for 18 years. He received his bachelor of science in education from the University of South Dakota in vocational education. He earned his master of art in education from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.