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2021 Excellence in Service

Dean's Award for Excellence

Alireza Haghighat

Professor and Director, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Alireza Haghighat
  • Alireza Haghighat is very active in the American Nuclear Society, having served in several leadership positions.  Currently, he is leading a national Committee on revision of ANS 19.10 standards for computational methods for reactor dosimetry, as a member of the Executive Committee of the Reactor Physics Division, and as a member of Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization. He has organized several workshops on the MRT methodology and RAPID code system at national and international meetings and been the co-organizer of the new Nuclear Engineering Webinar Series. He is also serving as the vice-chair of the Board of the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium (VNEC) nonprofit organization.

  • Leading is a strength of Alireza Haghighat.  He is the Director of Nuclear Engineering Program, Director of the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program at the northern Virginia campus, Director of Center for Multiphysics for Advanced Reactor Simulation (MARS), and leader of the Virginia Tech Transport Theory Group. In addition, he has contributed to a new graduate Certificate in Nuclear Science, Technology and Policy (NSTEP), and an accelerated master of engineering in nuclear engineering for the graduating midshipmen from the US Naval Academy.

  • Over the past 32 years, Alireza Haghighat has been involved in the development of new particle transport methodologies and large computer codes for modeling and simulation of nuclear systems including reactors, nuclear security and safeguards systems and medical devices. His efforts have resulted in the development of several advanced computer programs including PENTRAN, A3MCNP, TITAN, INSPCT-s, AIMS, TITAN-IR, and RAPID. The latter four code systems are developed based on the novel Multi-stage Response-function Transport (MRT) methodology that results in simulation of nuclear systems in real time on one computer core.

Clifford A. Shaffer

Professor and Associate Department Head for Graduate Studies, Department of Computer Science

Clifford Shaffer
  • Clifford Shaffer has served as the Associate Department Head of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Program Director for Computer Science since the summer of 2017. Since the start, he has worked tirelessly to improve the graduate program through a focus on improved faculty mentoring and robust data collection to effectively track student progress and performance. He has guided the Computer Science Graduate program through the twin challenges of an unprecedented expansion from 250 students to a goal of about 750 students, and then a global pandemic.

  • A recipient of numerous awards, most recently Clifford Shaffer has been honored with the Virginia Tech Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award, the Virginia Tech XCalibur Award for Integrating Technology in Teaching and Learning, and the W.S. “Pete” White Chair for Innovation in Engineering Education.  He was also named as an ACM Distinguished Educator.

John P. Shewchuk 

Associate Professor, Associate Department Head, and Undergraduate Program Director, Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

John Shewchuk
  • John Shewchuk serves in many capacities in the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.  He is associate department head, the undergraduate program director, and the undergraduate program committee chair.  He also is the director of the Harris Manufacturing Processes Laboratories.

  • In his work in the department, John Shewchuk has put in extra efforts to solicit teaching preference information from faculty and incorporate during course scheduling whenever possible. He is continually working to identify process improvements and eliminate waste in all aspects of administration related to curriculum, instruction, and students. He has put additional efforts towards guiding and training new instructors, in particular PhD students who may be teaching for the first time.  He has provided exemplary support to faculty who reach out to him with questions and concerns related to instruction, courses, and student concerns.

  • From 2017-2019, John Shewchuk spearheaded the successful redesign of the Industrial and Systems Engineering undergraduate program to reduce credits, from 133 to 124 credits, while retaining program breadth and adding elective flexibility for students.

  • As the recipient of the Virginia Tech Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Lean Teaching Award from the Institute of Industrial Engineering, John Shewchuk excels in teaching.