Dr Fadi Aloul has been awarded the 2015 Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC) Airbus Diversity Award for his work in developing a course that introduces first-year students to engineering.
Airbus engineering executive vice president and patron of the diversity award Charles Champion presented Dr Aloul with his award in Adelaide on Wednesday.
Dr Aloul is a professor of computer science and engineering and director of the HP Institute at the American University of Sharjah. The award recognises his work in establishing a first-year engineering and computing course that uses low-cost materials and resources that engages diverse students in engineering education and stimulates their critical thinking, creativity and innovation.
About 10,000 students had completed the course from 92 different nationalities. There was also 35 per cent female participation in the course.
“It is an honour to receive such an award,” Aloul told guests at the GEDC Airbus diversity award dinner, held during the GEDC 2015 Adelaide conference.
“I would like to dedicate this award really to my father who has been a great advocate of education. He made sure me and my siblings received the best education. And then later on made sure we passed that onto others.”
Established in 2012 by Airbus and the GEDC, the diversity award aims to recognise grassroots initiatives that help more people study engineering and through that, increase the number of engineers from all backgrounds and profiles in the workforce.
Champion said the three finalists – Aloul, Martin Baumann from the University of RWTH Aachen and Renetta Tull from the University of Maryland, were all outstanding candidates.
“This year, the jury had the opportunity to assess three outstanding candidates, whose work focuses on very different areas,” Champion said in a statement.
“At Airbus Group, we are committed to continuously building a diverse and inclusive workforce, and to encouraging all forms of diversity, as so well illustrated by this year’s Award recipient.
Dean of Engineering at the University of Adelaide John Beynon, who is chair of the GEDC, said engineering was “one of the most exciting, challenging and varied career where teamwork is hugely important”.
“This year, we saw that all our finalists have the support of equally committed colleagues and team members. The message is that together we can, and will, make a difference,” Beynon said.