AKU's Dr Tasneem Anwar has been awarded the Pakistan Higher Education Commission's Best University Teacher Award (BUTA) 2020 in the Social Sciences and Humanities at a ceremony in Islamabad today.
Dr Anwar, an assistant professor at AKU's Institute for Educational Development, is the second faculty member to receive this honour. In 2016, HEC presented Dr Sadia Bhutta, an alumna and associate professor at AKU-IED, with an award as well.
Dr Anwar strongly believes that demonstrated excellence in teaching and learning results from focused attention to 'learning'. This focus allows for objectivity while simultaneously offering empathy and responsiveness to diverse teaching and learning needs. “When learning becomes central, everything else fades into the background," she says. Her attention to 'learning' has allowed her to design contextually relevant learning environments; model best practices of active learning; integrate technology more purposefully; refine teaching and learning experiences based on self and student reflections; and learn valued lessons from camaraderie.
Dr Anwar completed her PhD in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – education from the University of Minnesota and joined AKU soon after, in 2017. She has contributed to several research studies and led the development of various trainings and capacity building programmes in the area.
“There has never been a stronger need for STEM education," says Dr Anwar. “Today we are faced with the challenge of training science teachers in Pakistan, who struggle with using discipline-specific teaching methods and creating environments conducive to learning. This, coupled with additional expectations for multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary expertise, further stresses the need to provide continued STEM-focused, professional development support."
Dr Anwar has received a number of awards for her work in science education including the: National Science Foundation-funded Crowdsourcing Innovation Fellowship Award, National Association for Research in Science Teaching Jhumki Basu Scholar Award, and The Association for Science Teacher Education's Innovations in Teaching Science Teachers Award.
When asked about adding yet another feather to her cap, she said “Professional recognition as prestigious as HEC's BUTA has certainly served as a reason for a 'reignition of my goals'. I am thrilled and eager to initiate many extraordinary endeavours, especially to take on the challenge of STEM teacher education in the days to come!"