Two K-State faculty receive $5,000 Iman Awards for research and teaching

Posted November 21, 2013

Kansas State University faculty members in engineering and veterinary medicine will receive $5,000 awards in recognition of their outstanding research and teaching at a 4 p.m. ceremony today at the K-State Alumni Center. The annual Dr. Ron and Rae Iman Outstanding Faculty Awards, which started in 2007, are sponsored by the K-State Alumni Association and are made possible through the generosity of Ron and Rae Iman.

Zhijian Pei, professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering in the College of Engineering, will receive the Iman Outstanding Faculty Award for Research. The recipient of the Iman Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching is Kenneth Harkin, professor of clinical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Pei's award recognizes faculty members who have distinguished themselves in their chosen profession and who have contributed significantly through research to improve the betterment of the educational experience, or whose research has had a significant impact on their area of study.

Joining the K-State faculty in 2000, Pei is an international authority on advanced manufacturing processes. He serves as the director for the National Science Foundation’s manufacturing machines and equipment program, where he has responsibility for and influence on a significant portion of the nation’s investment in advanced manufacturing research. The program has a $7 million annual budget and more than 130 active awards.

His nominator, Bradley Kramer, department head of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, said, "Dr. Pei is an internationally recognized scholar and an outstanding engineering researcher and educator. He has advised 11 doctoral students at K-State and has involved about 20 undergraduate students in his research. He also mentors junior faculty members and has made significant contributions to raising the visibility of K-State nationally and internationally."

Harkin's award honors a full-time K-State faculty member for excellence in high-quality instruction, strong relationships with students inside and outside the classroom and a reputation for scholarship and distinguished service to the university.

Harkin joined the K-State faculty in 1997 as a clinical instructor, becoming an associate professor in 1998, and was promoted to professor in 2010. Harkin instructs fourth-year veterinary students in their clinical rotations through the internal medicine service and presents didactic lectures to third-year veterinary students in gastroenterology, hepatology, neurology and clinical hematology.

His nominator, Bonnie Rush, department head of clinical sciences, said, "Ken is the most decorated faculty member in the college and is our franchise player. His passion is teaching veterinary students in the classroom and in the clinic. He takes the responsibility seriously and serves as an advocate for the educational environment when the college is determining curricular or structural change. In his words, 'Teaching is not fancy, just 100 percent dedication every single day to students, patients and clients.'"

"We are so pleased to honor these outstanding K-State faculty members," said Amy Button Renz, president and CEO of the K-State Alumni Association. "The accomplishments and personal touch of Dr. Pei and Dr. Harkin have truly elevated the educational experience of our students and enhanced the reputation of K-State worldwide. We are also deeply appreciative to Ron and Rae Iman for their generous commitment to make these awards possible."

The Imans live in Albuquerque, N.M., where Ron Inman is president of Southwest Technology Consultants. They are life members of the K-State Alumni Association and serve as Kansas State University Foundation trustees. Ron Inman earned three degrees from K-State: a bachelor's degree in math education in 1962, a master's degree in 1970 and a doctorate in statistics in 1973. He is a past member of the association's board of directors and is chair of the K-State College of Arts and Sciences advisory council. He served as national president of the American Statistical Association in 1994, received K-State’s Arts and Sciences Distinguished Service Award in 1996 and was named a Highly Cited Researcher by the Institute for Scientific Information in 2004.