COLUMBUS, Miss.--Dr. Ghanshyam Heda recently was named the Kossen Faculty Excellence Award winner.


Drs. Connie ('64) and Tom Kossen established the Kossen Faculty Excellence Award endowment. Every year the endowment funds a $5,000 award to recognize an outstanding faculty member.

Heda, who has been at the Mississippi University for Women for 12 years, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as his Doctorate from Osmania University (India). He worked with medical schools, a pharmaceutical drug company and as a full-time researcher for the government prior to coming to The W in 2008.

“The right opportunities are rare, especially in this world of robust competition,” said Heda, who is a professor of biology. “This mindset may be a motivating factor for me in getting involved with so many things.

“I am thrilled and honored to be named the Kossen Faculty Excellence Award winner. I am thankful to our department chair (Dr. Bonnie Oppenheimer), current and past students for their support, and the search committee for selection.”

Said Oppenheimer, “Dr. Heda has a laser focus on helping the students at The W become excellent researchers in their own right; some have peer-reviewed research articles published before they graduate.”

Heda said his first steps as a professor were “challenging” primarily because teaching and interacting with students was new to him, but said he grew to enjoy teaching and advising students. He felt even more comfortable when he established his research lab and started training students; “It made me feel at home,” he said.

Staying active in so many roles is invigorating and that the academic freedom he has at The W allows him to pursue his goals of collaborating in research and teaching with the researchers throughout the world. In 2015, Heda spent his sabbatical leave at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India. In 2018, he served as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Hyderabad in India.  

The Kossen Award recipient must be a meritorious tenured faculty member of The W who has exhibited excellence in teaching, scholarly or artistic achievement, and service, preferably on campus and in communities, throughout The W’s service area. To be considered for the award, a faculty member must exhibit a commitment to teaching and learning that results in outstanding opportunities for students served, demonstrate excellence in scholarly or artistic achievement and exhibit excellence in service through a commitment to activities on campus, including those involving governance and those involving student services.

The Kossen Faculty Excellence Award recognizes achievements of individuals through many years of service to The W. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and members of the community can nominate candidates.

June 29, 2020
Contact: Adam Minichino
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