For Civil Engineering Technologies instructor Gayan Herath, 2014 was a banner year worth celebrating.
He was recognized as the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Outstanding Faculty Advisor for the second straight year, the Civil Engineering Technologies program received ABET accreditation, and he and wife celebrated the birth of their second child.
And just before Christmas, he learned he was named a Regents Distinguished Educator from the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents.
“Getting this award and having a new family member─ It’s a good way to end the year,” Herath said.
Those nominated for the award prepare a portfolio and then a committee interviews the finalists before the winner is announced.
This was Herath’s second time to be nominated in the four years he’s been an instructor at OSUIT, but he still wasn’t prepared for the news that he has been chosen.
“It was surprising. I said ‘Really, I won this? I can’t believe it.’ I’m proud of myself,” he said, but he knows this honor isn’t just his alone. “The Civil Engineering Technologies faculty are some of the best on the campus. We all do our best, and it’s a kind of family. We’re always looking to succeed.”
And that’s just what Herath and the rest of the Civil Engineering instructors have worked hard to do by attaining ABET accreditation and establishing the first ASCE student chapter at OSUIT, an initiative started by Herath.
Scott Newman, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs, said all of this year’s finalists were exceptional, but Herath’s accomplishments in regards to OSUIT’s ASCE chapter are what distinguished him from the rest.
“Gayan has been instrumental in the development of the OSUIT ASCE chapter. The past two years, he was named the ASCE Outstanding Faculty Advisor for Region 6, which encompasses Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. That’s a clear indicator of the great work he’s doing,” Newman said.
Herath said the award just pushes him to improve as a teacher.
“I’ve got to do better and better. It’s motivation to do more,” he said. “It’s day by day, how can I deliver better than yesterday, that’s my goal.”
Any time a faculty member is recognized as being outstanding it reflects well on the high-quality learning students receive through OSUIT, Newman said.
“We’re very proud of Gayan, his contributions and accomplishments, and excited to see what the future will bring for him, the Civil Engineering Technologies program and OSUIT,” he said.
Herath said the Regents Distinguished Educator award is just the latest feather in Civil Engineering Technologies’ cap.
“The program is getting recognition, the students are getting recognition, the faculty are getting recognition,” he said. “It’s good to see the program developing like that.”