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Vol 56 No. 9 | August 2004
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Three Professors Honored as Recipients
of 2003-04 Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award


Three professors have been honored as recipients of CSULB's 2003-04 Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award, given to selected faculty in recognition of sustained excellence in teaching.

Professors Richard Behl, Alan Colburn and Hassan Mohamed-Nour were presented with the award at a celebration that recognizes the outstanding achievements of faculty and staff.

Behl, an associate professor of geological sciences, is involved in several research projects on global climate change and on marine sedimentary rocks. In recent years, several undergraduate and graduate students have solicited him to serve as their research advisor, and with his guidance, most have applied for and been awarded research funds from professional societies. In addition, Behl has garnered grants which he uses to support student research.

He received his undergraduate degree from UC San Diego before going on to a career ranging up and down the California coast as a well site geologist in the geothermal and petroleum fields. He went on to earn a Ph.D. from UC Santa Cruz, followed by a post-doctoral research fellowship at UC Santa Barbara.

He has served as vice president of the Pacific Section of the Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM) and is presently a distinguished lecturer for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. In 1990, he received SEPM's Excellence of Oral Presentation Award. He is the author and co-author of numerous papers, abstracts and a book. At present, he is developing interpretive material for Crystal Cove State Park and the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park in Orange County.

Colburn, an associate professor of science education, is recognized as an expert in inquiry-based teaching, writing articles and books that reach out to the K-16 educators in elementary through university classrooms. His teaching philosophy centers on the idea that "thinking is good," and his research and teaching interests are deeply intertwined.

Due to his interest in open-ended, hands-on science instruction and its effects, Colburn has tried to use a similar model of instruction in classes such as the science capstone course for the Department of Liberal Studies majors who are planning to teach elementary school.

Colburn earned a bachelor's degree at Carnegie Mellon University, a master's degree at the University of Illinois, another master's degree at the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in science education at the University of Iowa.

He has been associated with the CSULB Faculty Development Center, where he served on committees and offered workshop presentations related to teaching techniques and reform.

In 2003, he wrote a book for the National Science Teachers Association. Titled The Lingo of Learning, the book serves as a useful, practical guide for K-16 educators who want to work at increasing their understanding of teaching and learning processes.

Annually, Colburn presents his research at regional and national conferences. Most recently he was the invited keynote speaker at an international science education conference in Malaysia, where he spoke on using inquiry in the teaching of science.

Mohamed-Nour, professor of electrical engineering, focuses his research on the analysis of electrical power systems, including the operation of power grids at both the transmission and distribution levels. As a principal investigator, he has carried out several research projects in the areas of high-voltage insulation systems and voltage instability of electrical power transmission systems. These projects have been developed at CSULB and supported by local power utilities, including the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Southern California Edison Company.

As the undergraduate advisor for CSULB's Department of Electrical Engineering, Mohamed-Nour spends many hours advising students. He also has introduced and restructured several new undergraduate and graduate-level courses in the area of power systems. In addition, he has contributed to curriculum improvements as the chair of the Electrical Engineering Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and by negotiating with industry for obtaining modern software for the university's power program.

Mohamed-Nour has been the recipient of several awards, including the Most Valuable Professor Award (COE-CSULB, 2003); the Outstanding Scholastic Contribution Award (AESB) 1993, 1998 and 2002; and the Technical Achievement Award of the 1985 and 1987 IEEE-EIC.

Mohamed-Nour earned his bachelor's and master's of science degrees at Assiut University in Egypt, and he received his doctorate in electrical power engineering from the University of Southern California.

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