Jan. 21, 2014
Professor of Mathematics Saad El-Zanati has been named as the 2014 Distinguished Professor, the University’s highest honor.
Since arriving at Illinois State in 1991, he has been a vital conduit, connecting educators with research opportunities. His work has been instrumental in creating avenues for math teachers and teacher candidates to pursue research and mathematical theory, enriching the field as well as the classroom.
The Distinguished Professor designation honors faculty members of distinction who have demonstrated to the broader community that excellence is the foundation of the University.
With support from the National Science Foundation, El-Zanati developed and implemented the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, which focuses on mathematics research and exemplary teaching practices for in-service and pre-service teachers. Teachers from across the nation have traveled to Illinois State for the program, which has generated more than 60 presentations, publications and modules.
He initiated the collaborative Teacher-Scholar Program in Secondary Mathematics, bringing together education and mathematics faculty. He has been honored by Illinois State’s College of Arts and Sciences with the Outstanding College Teacher Award and by the University with the Outstanding Researcher Award.
In his research, El-Zanati advances the boundaries of graph and design theory. His work on cube designs, as well as graph factorizations and labeling, have accelerated progress in the field. An author or coauthor of more than 75 research articles, he has presented his work in invited lectures across the globe, including Turkey, Australia and Thailand, where he was one of the main speakers at the 2012 Thai-Japan Conference on Computational Geometry and Graphs.
El-Zanati’s work has garnered nearly $3 million in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), including acting as principal investigator on four grants generating more than $1.5 million. With funding from the NSF, he also helped create the ISU S-STEM Scholarships in Secondary Mathematics Education.
Earning a Ph.D. from Auburn University, El-Zanati taught at Tuskegee University before joining Illinois State. During his tenure here, he has served on multiple committees dedicated to building curriculum, implementing strategic plans and strengthening teacher certification.
Distinguished professors are invited to deliver a public lecture or presentation on a topic of their choosing, receive a $1,000 budget per annum in support of activities and continue to hold the title throughout their service to Illinois State.
They must have achieved national recognition for scholarly research, creative production or leadership in creative or scholarly activities. In addition, candidates must have been clearly identified by students, colleagues or external agencies as an outstanding teacher or must have contributed significant public service in accord with his or her academic discipline.
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