August 10, 2006
Chugh earns Fulbright Senior Specialist honor
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Y. Paul Chugh, a professor of mining and mineral resources in Southern Illinois University Carbondale's College of Engineering, will travel to India later this year as a Fulbright Senior Specialist.
While at Indian School of Mines in Dhanbad, Chugh will gather input from the nation's academic and mining industry leaders to further develop the university's environmental science and engineering programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Chugh, who also serves as director of the Combustion Byproducts Recycling Consortium-Midwestern Region, also wants to assist the university – the top-ranked mining institution in India – in expanding its research efforts.
Indian School of Mines, founded 80 years ago, is "absolutely the MIT of mining in India" and is "absolutely the best" mining institution in the country, Chugh said. Many of the school's alumni hold leadership positions in the mining industry and in government, and the nation is "wanting to expand coal production in a big way," he said.
"One of the goals of this award is to nurture the students and the faculty with the latest methods of learning and teaching," Chugh said. "I will be interfacing with their faculty to see how we can transfer some of our teaching technologies to them and similarly work with the students a little bit on what are the different models of learning and how they can be incorporated into their program.
"If, as a teacher, I can make you learn, that is a lot more important than me standing in a classroom and teaching," he added. "I am hoping that I can transfer that methodology both to the students and faculty."
Chugh will also participate in a one-day workshop dealing with environmental issues in mines in December.
There is less mechanization currently in India's mining systems than in the United States, but they want to adopt the systems used here, Chugh said. Environmental issues, such as air and water quality, and controlling the exposure of miners to hazardous gases and dust, are comparable to those in the U.S., he said.
Because India has very large surface mines, officials want to learn more about land reclamation and integrating fly ash management, he said.
"My going there really fits in nicely with the development of academic and research programs in the area of environmental science and industry," he said.
The Fulbright appointment is a "great honor for Paul as well as for SIUC," said College of Engineering Dean William P. Osborne.
"To have one of our own selected for such a prestigious and high-profile role reflects very well on our mining program and the entire SIUC research effort in energy, in general, and coal and clean coal technologies in particular," Osborne said.
Chugh joined the SIUC faculty in 1977. He earned his bachelor's degree in 1961 from Banares Hindu University in India, and his master's and doctoral degrees in 1968 and 1970, respectively, from Pennsylvania State University.
Chugh expects to be in India from mid-November through mid-December. On Dec. 11, he will deliver a keynote lecture on the future role of coal around the globe to the International Coal Congress in New Delhi. The World Mining Congress is organizing the symposium, expected to draw about 500 coal-affiliated representatives from the United States, China, Russia, South Africa and Australia.
Indian School of Mines' Professor Gurdeep Singh, who heads the university's Centre of Mining Environment, is in Carbondale this summer collaborating with Chugh. Singh credited Chugh, a native of Kahror Pucca, India, with helping to guide the university's academic and research programs, Singh said.
"It is a privilege of our institute to have such an expert who is not only known and recognized in India, but the world over," Singh said.
Created in 2000 to complement the J. William Fulbright Scholar Program, the Fulbright Senior Specialists Award "provides short-term academic opportunities to prominent U.S. faculty and professionals to support curricular and faculty development and institutional planning in post secondary academic institutions around the world," according to the organization.
The programs range from two to six weeks. Chugh is one of more than 400 faculty and professionals from the United States who will travel abroad as a part of the program this year.
The Fulbright program, now in its 60th year, was the creation of then-freshman U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas as a way to promote "mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries," according to the organization.
Supporting and fostering faculty excellence are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.