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Vardan T. Karamyan, Ph.D., an associate professor for the School of Pharmacy, was one of four Texas Tech University System faculty members to receive a Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Teaching Award Jan. 24 in Lubbock.
“I am humbled and excited at the same time,” Karamyan said. “A number of other people, including great mentors and students, helped me to reach this point.”
As a career researcher who recently received a $2.9 million multi-principal investigator R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health, one might believe Karamyan is more at home working behind a microscope than in front of a classroom full of students. His students, however, might disagree.
Since coming to TTUHSC in 2008, Karamyan twice has been named Graduate Mentor of the Year by students in the School of Pharmacy’s Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical Sciences. In 2014, he was presented the Amarillo Student Senate’s World of Difference Award and the TTUHSC President’s Excellence in Teaching award.
“Working in the lab is a less formal environment where one can take a more individualized approach to each student,” Karamyan said. “The classroom does not have this, but it allows us to work with a much larger audience and at times make a performance in a good sense of the word.”
In fact, Karamyan said he has come to love teaching almost as much as research. He said receiving positive feedback from a student who has benefitted from Karamyan’s classroom lectures is especially satisfying.
“One could argue that teaching in moderation helps me and other researchers to keep sanity,” Karamyan said. “What I mean by that is that the rewards of teaching are often seen very quickly at the end of the lecture or the semester, whereas the rewards of research usually take a long time and can be pretty hard on the scientist. So, for a balanced academic life, it is great to have some of both.”
The Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Teaching and Research awards are the highest honors bestowed upon faculty by the Texas Tech University System. They are presented annually to recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions recipients have made in the classroom and in the laboratory. The awards are made possible through philanthropic gifts to the Chancellor’s Council, a giving society that supports the Chancellor’s priorities of impacting student lives through scholarships, recognizing faculty achievement and encouraging excellence across the TTU System. Since the council established the teaching and research awards in 2001, 178 faculty members have received awards.