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University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering

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Engineering Professor Receives Minority Advancement Award

By: 

Krista Kuhl

Hamid Parsaei, professor and chair of industrial engineering with the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering, recently received the UPS Award for Minority Advancement from the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE).

The award, which was presented at the group’s Annual Conference in May, is given “for innovative development of programs/products directed to the advancement of women, minorities or people with disabilities within the field of Industrial Engineering.”

Parsaei received the award largely for his efforts to recruit minority students to the Department of Industrial Engineering. “The IE faculty and staff have been actively involved in recruiting and retaining women and minority students,” he said. “I am very proud of the department’s efforts accomplishments in this area”

Among these efforts was the initiation of a college-wide plan to visit select international institutions to recruit highly qualified graduate students.

In addition, the department seeks to retain these recruits by hosting periodic meetings with students to receive feedback concerning the quality and variety of classes. It also partially subsidizes enrollment fees for organizations such as the student chapter of IIE, has doubled the number of graduate student assistantships, and has restructured the graduate and undergraduate curriculum.

These efforts have helped the Department of Industrial Engineering achieve one of the largest concentrations of minority students among IE departments nationwide—around 60%. Figures such as this have garnered recognition for the IE Department and Parsaei.

Parsaei was nominated for the award by Adedeji Badiru, professor and head of the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

In his nomination letter, Badiru said that Parsaei “has made tremendous contributions to the academic success, professional development and career advancement of underrepresented minority groups.”

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