The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and UI International Programs have named Associate Professor Meena Khandelwal the inaugural recipient of the International Engagement Teaching Award. The jointly sponsored award recognizes CLAS faculty members who excel in incorporating internationalism into their teaching. Khandelwal is on the faculty of the Departments of Anthropology and Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies.
"Professor Khandelwal is highly deserving of this recognition," said CLAS Dean Chaden Djalali. "Her teaching and research open the world to her students and her colleagues."
Dean of International Programs Downing Thomas seconded Djalali's sentiment. "Professor Khandelwal employs innovative and inspiring methods in her teaching that significantly advance our university's commitment to ensuring that our students learn international perspectives," Thomas said. "International Programs is delighted to join with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to recognize her with this award, and I look forward to watching her work continue to unfold in the years to come."
Khandelwal, who earned her PhD from the University of Virginia in 1995 and joined the UI faculty in 2001, teaches courses ranging from the introductory to graduate levels. She is a co-developer and teacher of a groundbreaking course called “People and the Environment: Technology, Culture, and Social Justice,” which brings together faculty from wide-ranging disciplines such as anthropology, geography, engineering, and urban planning; the course is among the UI's "Big Ideas" offerings. Other courses she teaches include “Introduction to Cultural Anthropology,” “Love, Marriage and Family in India,” “Transnational Feminism,” and “Global Migration in the Contemporary World.”
A leading scholar in transnational studies and South Asian/Indian studies and a former director of the UI South Asian Studies Program, Khandelwal involves students at all levels in her international research. For just one example, she was awarded a Fulbright-Hays Group Project Award in December 2016 to take a group of 12 faculty and students to India to learn about interventions in the use of cookstoves.
Her students are enthusiastic about her teaching and mentorship. A typical comment from a student evaluation said, "I truly feel I've learned more from this course than almost all my other classes here at the UI. I was exposed to many new ideas and challenged constantly."
Khandelwal's other teaching honors include the UI's Innovations in Teaching with Technology Award (2012) and the Feminist Teaching Award from Denison University (2000).