The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) has recognized Dr. J.B. Sharma, professor and assistant head of the Department of Physics at the University of North Georgia (UNG), with the Leidos/Estes Memorial Teaching Award for his achievement in the promotion of remote sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technology.
"For J.B. to receive this award comes as no surprise, given his well-known and sincere desire to share his passion for GIS and remote-sensing with our students," said Dr. Mike Bodri, dean of UNG's College of Science & Mathematics. "He embodies our mission to equip students with the knowledge, skills and behaviors needed to be successful in their education and careers, and he consistently does so while also helping them to discover their own passions in science."
ASPRS states that selection of award recipients is based on documented excellence in education, teaching, mentoring and training, and also based on a demonstrated commitment to the advancement of student learning in remote sensing and GIS. Nominations are made by a selection committee and are also solicited from active ASPRS members.
Sharma is part of UNG's Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental Spatial Analysis (IESA) and, since 2009, has served as the UNG Eminent Scholar for Teaching and Learning. In 1999, he was recognized as the Georgia Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the University System of Georgia.
Sharma is involved in novel curriculum development in introductory college physics courses, based on active learning that is enhanced and personalized with instructional technology. He is active in applied remote sensing research, particularly in high-spatial resolution remote sensing with data from multiple sensors and Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis 12 techniques. He has a special interest in geo-spatial problems that bridge the physical and social domains, undergraduate research and K-12 physics/remote sensing outreach.
"Effective teaching practices lead to deep, meaningful and sustained learning. In order for there to be true learning there has to be context, engagement and active involvement of the student," Sharma said. "I strive to incorporate these elements in the courses that I teach, and would like to see greater experimentation with active learning pedagogies across the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Portable, inexpensive sensors and rapid computing now personalize teaching and learning in STEM disciplines. By collecting their own data and exploring the underlying mathematical patterns, students can connect the ideas on the chalkboard to their own experiential domain, making science come alive."
The Leidos/Estes Memorial Teaching Award was established in 2003 and to honor Professor John E. "Jack" Estes, who was considered a great friend and mentor to ASPRS.