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Engineering prof wins international graduate teacher award

Electrical and computer engineering professor Dr. Vijay Bhargava has won the 2002 IEEE Graduate Teaching Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the world’s largest technical professional society with more than 333,000 members in 150 countries.

The award cites Bhargava for “excellence in graduate teaching, curriculum development, and inspirational research guidance of graduate students in the area of wireless communications.” The award consists of a bronze medal, a certificate and a $2,000 US honorarium.

“I enjoy being with students and to be recognized for something that you enjoy is very rewarding,” says Bhargava. “I give my students complete freedom and learn alongside with them. I feel it’s important that students facilitate their own way through research and I’ve learned a great deal from my past and present students.”

Bhargava joined UVic in 1984, and helped develop and nurture the graduate program in the newly established department of electrical and computer engineering. Prior to that he held regular and visiting appointments at the Indian Institute of Science, University of Waterloo, Concordia University, and the École Polytéchnique in Montreal.

Bhargava currently holds a Canada Research Chair in wireless communications, which provides research funding of $200,000 per year for seven years. Along with the chair, Bhargava received funding from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council to add five more graduate students to his research team.
One of Bhargava’s former graduate students is Dr. Aaron Gulliver, who went on to work at Carleton University and the University of Canterbury and who now works as a professor of electrical engineering at UVic.

“Vijay’s lab is one of the most productive in the world in the area of wireless communications,” says Gulliver. “He’s a great mentor and inspiration to his students and provides an environment in his lab that nurtures their research interests. He genuinely cares about the welfare of every student he comes in contact with.”

During his 28-year career, Bhargava has supervised 17 PhD theses and 35 master’s theses. Seven of his graduate students are now faculty members at Canadian and U.S. universities and several have gone on to become researchers and leaders in industry and government agencies.