Georgia College Physics Professor Dr. Hasitha Mahabaduge has been named a 2020 Fellow of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSoTL). He was one of nine educators — and the only U.S. applicant — to receive the prestigious lifetime award.

“This is a very competitive international fellowship and a great honor. I think it speaks highly of both Dr. Mahabaduge’s hard work and Georgia College’s commitment to excellence in teaching and learning,” said Dr. Jordan Cofer, associate provost for Transformative Learning Experiences.

Other winners this year were from Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Normally, fellows are recognized during the ISSoTL annual conference. But, due to COVID-19, the October event in Perth, Australia, was canceled.

Mahabaduge’s group is the second cohort to be awarded this honor, since the ISSoTL Fellowship was established in 2019. Being named an ISSoTL Fellow is a lifetime title. Fellows are expected to impact the scholarship of teaching and learning at local, regional, national and international levels—demonstrating a particular commitment to mentoring emerging and junior scholars. They also support the development of emerging regions.

 “This international scope and diverse perspective on higher education will definitely benefit me to grow as a professor,” Mahabaduge said. “I can bring in successful teaching strategies used by educators around the world to my classroom that will benefit our students.”

Mahabaduge was a 2017 SoTL Fellow with the University System of Georgia (USG) and participated in the Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program at the University of Georgia in 2019. Earlier this year, he was also the 2020 recipient of USG’s Board of Regents Felton Jenkins Jr. Hall of Fame Faculty Award—bestowed for “a strong commitment to teaching and student success.”

The ISSoTL Fellowship is just one thing on a busy schedule—something that highlights the career of a faculty member who’s always thinking creatively and engaging students in new ideas.

Mahabaduge is known to involve students in his own solar cell research, equipping golf carts with solar panels. He also started an annual Renewable Energy Day for elementary students in Baldwin County and, last summer, traveled to India to teach Tibetan monks about physics. Mahabaduge has also connected his physics classes with university students from his home country, Sri Lanka.

“The Georgia College administration has always extended their support for my SoTL work” Mahabaduge said, “and, most importantly, created an environment which encourages innovation in teaching and research.”

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