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Arumala named UMES' top educator for 2012-13

  • Thursday, May 2, 2013

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (May 2, 2013) - A civil engineer is the winner of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's 2013 Teaching Excellence Award.

    Dr. Joseph Arumala_2013Dr. Joseph O. Arumala received the honor today from President Juliette B. Bell during the university's annual faculty appreciation luncheon.

    Arumala was recognized as "adedicated and talented teacher" who colleagues consider a "keystone in the (technology) department and (a) major talent in the School of Business and Technology."

    In brief remarks following the surprise announcement, the soft-spoken Arumala said he was honored and flattered to be recognized.

    Nominations for the UMES teaching excellence award can come from alumni, administrators, colleagues and students.

    Bell said she was struck by a student who acknowledged struggling in Arumala's classes but nonetheless wrote a letter in support of his nomination.

    "From beginner classes like Statics to more advanced classes like Design Structures, Dr. Arumala stuck with me and encouraged me to be a better student and a more focused person," the student wrote. "Thank you, Dr. Arumala, for everything."

    Bell said Arumala's portfolio portrays him as "an excellent teacher" who is "respected by peers, grounded in the craft, and impassioned about teaching and learning."

    He has written a textbook, journal papers and has had conference papers published as well. He also is credited with successfully writing funded grant proposals in excess of $850,000.

    Dr. Derrek Dunn, the UMES technology department chairman, described Arumala as an educator who has a "commitment to educating students in the art of learning and research … (who) engages students at their level and is able to extract the best out of them."

    In 2010, the University System of Maryland's governing board recognized Arumala as one of the state's top college instructors.

    Arumala earned his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Lagos in his native Nigeria. He received a Master of Science and doctorate in civil engineering from Clemson University in South Carolina.

    Among the courses he has taught at UMES: Dynamics, Strength of Materials, Structural Design, Engineering Drawing and Professional Ethics in Civil Engineering.

    Since joining the UMES faculty in 1996, Arumala has looked beyond the campus for ways to have an impact on the community.

    An outdoor athletic center opened in 2008 on the site of an abandoned clam factory, thanks to a cooperative effort between UMES and the town of Princess Anne. The Garland Hayward Youth Center off Hampden Avenue is one of the community's most popular gathering spots.   

     "Before the athletic center opened," he said, "those kids didn't have anywhere else to go."

    Arumala also has helped organize Engineering Expos in Somerset and Wicomico counties featuring hands-on demonstrations staffed by en