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Engineering Professor Provides Transforming Mentorship

Engineering Professor Wins Award for Transforming Mentorship

Bir Bhanu, a distinguished professor of electrical engineering, wins advisor/mentor award

(May 23, 2011)

Bir BhanuEnlarge

Bir Bhanu

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- Bir Bhanu, a distinguished professor electrical engineering at the University of California, Riverside, will receive this year’s Doctoral Dissertation Advisor/Mentor Award.

Each year the UC Riverside Graduate Council and Graduate Division present the award to one or two faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to the training of advanced graduate students.

“I was very pleased on getting the news about this award,” Bhanu said. “I am grateful that I have had such a positive impact in the lives of my students and being recognized for it is a great honor for me.”

Thirty of Bhanu’s 32 Ph.D. students wrote letters in support of his nomination. Several noted that he had taken the unusual step of locating his office inside his laboratory to enable him to interact more closely with his students.

One wrote that “Dr. Bhanu always has the career development and success of his mentees as his top priority.” Another likened him to a father figure who is tough but reassuring, guiding his students but also fostering their independence. Others wrote that he is inspiring, encouraging, incredibly positive, patient and kind, and describe their mentoring experiences as transforming and life-changing.

Reza Abbaschian, dean of the Bourns College of Engineering, praised Bhanu for his dedication to his students.

“I’m not surprised by the overwhelming support his Ph.D. students expressed in nominating him for this award,” Abbaschian said. “His standards of service and excellence exemplify our mission of creating engineering leaders.”

Bhanu, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and SM/EE from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, held several positions in industry and academia before coming to UC Riverside in 1991 as a founding faculty member of the College of Engineering and the founding chair of the department of electrical engineering.

Among numerous awards, Bhanu is the recipient of the Bourns College of Engineering Research Excellence Award, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

His research program has been highly successful in competing for federal research funding, including a $3 million National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program.

Bhanu has chaired 24 dissertations and has served as a member on eight other dissertation committees at UC Riverside.

His students frequently publish in highly rated journals and win awards for their dissertation research. They have earned positions with Microsoft, Motorola, Toyota, Loma Linda University, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, Yahoo! and other institutions.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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