Dedication in and out of the classroom

Dr. Khagendra Thapa discusses his passion and achievements

Dr. Khagendra Thapa, a professor in surveying engineering, is not only working to promote his program, but receiving awards while expressing his passion.

The walls inside Thapa’s office are covered with awards and certificates. Included in the bunch is the FSU Distinguished Teacher Award from 2008.

This award is given once a year to a professor who has shown dedication and excellence in teaching, as well as shown interest in students outside of the classroom.

It is a lengthy process to choose a winning recipient. A professor has to be nominated by a colleague. During the process, a committee will come and observe the professor as he or she teaches class. Students give comments and if selected as one of the three or four finalists, professors are interviewed.

Thapa was considered a finalist in 2002; however, he did not win until he was nominated again six years later.

“This award is definitely recognition of what a professor has done, not only by their peers- but by students,” Thapa said. “That means a lot to me.”

Included with the award is a list of comments students make about the professor. Although Thapa has received an uncountable number of compliments, there is one that really stands out to him.

“I had one student that gave me the biggest compliment I’ve ever received,” Thapa said. “You know, there are celebrities and Hollywood stars, and she said that when she grew up, she wanted to be like me. Of all the people in the United States, she wanted to be like me.”

Thapa has been at Ferris State for 25 years. When he was first hired at FSU, he thought the surveying engineering program had potential even though many instruments were unavailable for students.

In 1989, he started a campaign and contacted companies in order to obtain instruments that would improve the learning for the program. He acquired two GPS receivers for free which at that time, no other university or government agency had.

No one believed he could bring those GPS receivers to Ferris, he added. He said it was one of his most memorable experiences.

Since, Thapa has worked hard to get the word out about the surveying engineering program. He recently sent 400 hand-signed letters to pre-engineering and undecided students.

He also has visited high schools and university classes to talk about the program and express the need of students.

“I want students to know what we have here. Our surveying engineering program is rated number one in the nation,” Thapa said. “In the whole country, the graduate number is 120 and that is a problem. There is a great demand for graduates of this field. Each graduate gets 10 job offers right away.”

For more information regarding the surveying engineering program, contact Thapa at ext. 2672 or email