Reva A. Savkar, associate professor of chemistry at Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale Campus, has received the 2013 Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE). The annual award recognizes one teaching faculty member in the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) who distinctly represents the teaching excellence found at VCCS colleges. The honor includes a $5,000 check and a ceremonial stole that is worn with traditional graduation regalia.
“The backbone of any great institution is its faculty, and in Reva Savkar, we have a professor who embodies all the wonderful qualities that makes a great teacher,” said Dr. Robert G. Templin, Jr., NOVA’s president. “Throughout the years, she has demonstrated a commitment to teaching excellence by being student-focused, innovative in the classroom and enthusiastic about her work. Please join me in congratulating Reva on this very special recognition.”
Savkar began teaching chemistry at NOVA in 1974 as an adjunct faculty member. In 1989, she became a member of the full-time faculty and has taught both chemistry and computer science courses. She has received teaching awards from NOVA’s Student Government Association, Educational Foundation and Alumni Federation, and was selected for Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.
Savkar used her computer science and chemistry background to develop online courses, specifically the first online chemistry course in the U.S. --Chemistry 111-- in 1995. The course was developed as part of a grant through the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Since then, she’s created online courses for Chemistry 112 and Chemistry 101, which is one of the fastest growing classes for NOVA’s Extended Learning Institute.
For the past 17 years, she has led the popular Science Seminar Series at the Annandale Campus. The series brings together expert science practitioners outside of the College and in-house faculty to discuss topics in science that affect the current day-to-day world.
Last year, Savkar traveled to Maiti Nepal, a humanitarian organization in Kathmandu, Nepal, that helps victims of sex trafficking. The shelter was founded by Anuradha Koirala, the 2010 CNN Hero of the Year. Savkar helped set up a Learning Resource Center at the shelter, where she delivered 650 donated books and met with administrators to discuss their goals and needs for the future.
Savkar received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and physics, as well as a master’s degree in organic chemistry from the Institute of Science in Mumbai, India. She also earned a master’s degree in computer science from Virginia Tech.
She will be presented with the award next month at the annual meeting of the State Board for Community Colleges in Richmond and will be recognized by NOVA’s College Board at an upcoming meeting.
Savkar was selected for this year’s award by a committee comprised of one college president, on academic vice president, two deans, three faculty members, one student and the Director of Professional Development. The criteria for which recipients are selected reflect institutional effectiveness, student focus, discipline competence and personal attributes.
This is the second consecutive year that a NOVA faculty member has received this award. Callan Bentley, an assistant professor of geology at the Annandale Campus, received the CATE award in 2012.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.