Vanderbilt professor wins SAE’s distinguished educator award

August 22, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Sankaran Mahadevan has been selected by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to receive the international 2002 Distinguished Probabilistic Methods Educator Award.

According to the SAE, the award recognizes “excellence in developing and implementing an education and research curriculum in probabilistic methods, for developing innovative instructional software, and for effective effort to educate students.” Nominations were received from around the world and put through a rigorous, multi-step process to determine the individual whose efforts had the greatest impact on the engineering profession, industry and the nation.

Mahadevan, who co-founded and directs the Vanderbilt Multidisciplinary Training in Reliability and Risk Engineering and Management Program, will receive the award at an SAE awards ceremony on Sep. 23 at Huntington Beach, Calif.

“Professor Mahadevan has not only pioneered risk and reliability methods in his research,” says Vanderbilt Dean of Engineering Kenneth F. Galloway, “But he is an excellent teacher and an effective leader of fellow professors in this multidisciplinary field.”

The Vanderbilt program Mahadevan co-founded is the first National Science Foundation-funded graduate program that trains students to predict the performance and reliability of complex systems and equipment. It is the only one in the world to study and develop multidisciplinary mathematical approaches to assessing and managing risk and reliability.

Risk and reliability methods are used in industry to test complex systems to ensure safety and functionality. Methods developed and refined by the Vanderbilt team of civil and environmental engineers have been used in a variety of industrial and government settings, notably by General Motors, Ford, Saturn and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Mahadevan came to Vanderbilt in 1988. He received his doctorate from the Georgia Institute of Technology, his master’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology.

Media contact: Vivian Copper-Capps, 615-322-2762,
David Salisbury, 615-343-6803,

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