Begum’s commitment to engagement acclaimed

Khani-Begum
Provost Joe Whitehead (left), Khani Begum (center), and President Rodney Rogers.

Dr. Khani Begum, associate professor of English, has built a tremendous record of service while at BGSU, particularly through her commitments and accomplishments focusing on service-learning, community engagement and outreach.

In recognition of this dedication, Begum was presented with the Faculty Senate Distinguished Service Award at the annual Faculty Excellence Awards held April 16. The award is given in recognition of outstanding, continuous service and to highlight the importance of dedicated faculty to the development and enhancement of the University. Begum received a $1,000 cash prize and a reserved parking spot for one year.

In her nomination, Dr. Kristen Rudisill, associate professor and chair of the Department of Popular Culture, wrote: “I have long recognized Dr. Begum’s significant contributions to the learning environment, particularly raising awareness about and fostering diversity both inside her classrooms and for the greater BGSU and Bowling Green communities.

“She has been teaching courses that address diversity issues for a long time, but combining those seminars with student-organized conferences and community engagement components has empowered students to get out into the community and make a real difference.”

Begum spent six years advising the India Student Association, five years advising the Asian Communities United student organization and has more recently advised the Muslim Student Association. She also participates in a number of interdisciplinary programs, including the Asian Studies Advisory Committee, which she has served on with Rudisill for 12 years.

“What amazes me about Dr. Begum is that Asian Studies is not the only program she supports in this way, though it is the one she has been part of the longest,” Rudisill wrote. “Perhaps most impressive, however, are the service-learning courses she developed at both graduate and undergraduate levels that involved student presentations and conferences that were open to the public.

“We cannot reward her enough for her passion about Islamophobia, for her efforts or for her support of students and her activities.”

Dr. Lara Lengel, professor of media and communication seconded this nomination.

“BGSU and our local, regional, national and international community and organizational partners have benefitted tremendously from the increased opportunities that Khani has brought to enhance understanding of cultures and nations,” she wrote. “I have attended several of her community events and have been consistently impressed with the high level of intellectual engagement and scholarly collaboration between her and her student and community organizations.”

These events have included cultural and professional exchanges and cultural diversity learning and engagement experiences.

“Khani’s understanding of the nuances of community outreach and engagement, and partnership-building in diverse local, regional, national and international contexts, has been evident in her service record at BGSU, particularly her service-learning community initiatives,” Lengel wrote. “Her inclusive community-centered approach has afforded countless occasions for rich engagement with civil society representatives and community organizations for BGSU graduate and undergraduate students.”