Distinguished Teaching Award and Award of Distinction Presented at Spring Commencement Ceremony

Deepraj Mukherjee and John Frank honored with teaching awards.

Above photo: Dr. Deepraj Mukherjee (center) pictured with Faculty Chair Lucas Engelhardt (left) and Dean Denise Seachrist (right).

Deepraj Mukherjee grew up in Kolkata, India, traveling to the U.S. to study economics. But, his No. 1 goal has always been to make a difference.

In the classroom, this associate professor of economics challenges his students to find the answers that will better their homes, neighborhoods and communities. He encourages them to think about how economics influences everyday life. 

And it’s clear that Mukherjee, who was recently awarded the 2019 Distinguished Teaching Award, is making an impact.

“Dr. Mukherjee has been one of the best – if not the best – professors that I have had at any of the Kent campuses,” said one student in his nomination of Mukherjee for the teaching award.

“He is an extremely knowledgeable professor in his field. He is great at relaying information to his students in a way that we can comprehend, and he is a fun and caring professor. The combination of all three of these attributes is what makes Dr. Mukherjee stand out.”

Since Mukherjee joined the faculty at Kent State University at Stark in 2012, he said he has been impressed with the educational quality and research opportunities available to students.

“The fact that undergraduate students can be exposed to high-quality research gives them the perfect way to obtain the highest quality education,” he said, “because, at the end of the day, it really is that experience you are getting in the field.” 

Mukherjee and finalists for the Distinguished Teaching Award were recognized during the Kent State Stark Spring 2019 Commencement Ceremony, held May 12 at Umstattd Performing Arts Hall in Canton. Finalists were: Greg Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences, and Erin Vaughn, M.A., lecturer of music.

John Frank
John Frank (center) pictured with Faculty Chair Lucas Engelhardt (left) and Dean Denise Seachrist (right).


John Frank, who teaches finance courses at Kent State Stark, received the Award of Distinction, presented to adjunct faculty.

A longtime instructor at the campus, Frank has served as an adjunct for nearly 20 years. His name has become synonymous with one course that he has taught every semester since 2001: Legal Environment of Business.

The course teaches business administration majors about the legal issues that students could encounter in their business careers, as well as in their personal lives.  

“Since I took this course as an undergraduate student at The Ohio State University in 1987, I have been intrigued and fascinated by the law,” he said. “I hope and try to present the course material in a manner that will cause our students to experience the same intrigue and fascination with the law.”

Frank’s students attest to that goal. 

“Professor John Frank has wowed me with everything about his course. He is an attorney and clearly knows what material he is teaching. He gives great real-world examples, while being an honest and straightforward professor,” said one student in her nomination of Frank. “Everything he does in his class is in the best interest of the student, and he offers incredible insight to any question that is asked. He goes above and beyond to do everything in his power to help us succeed.”

For Frank, receiving the Award of Distinction has made him feel grateful and encouraged. 

“I am grateful for the kindness and thoughtfulness that prompted a student to nominate me,” he said. “I am encouraged as I hope to work with many more Kent State Stark students, and I am privileged to participate in their college journey.”

Learn more about the Distinguished Teaching Award and Award of Distinction.

POSTED: Friday, May 24, 2019 10:45 AM
UPDATED: Saturday, April 20, 2024 06:49 PM
Melissa Griffy Seeton