The Award for Outstanding Contributions to Academic Advising and Mentoring
2016 Academic Advising Award Recipient
Assistant Head for Undergraduate Affairs and Teaching Professor, Department of Physics
Kunal Ghosh received his bachelor’s degree from Banaras Hindu University and master’s degree from Calcutta University in India. He then received his Ph.D. in physics from Iowa State University. After his Ph.D., Ghosh joined the Department of Physics, Atmospheric Sciences and General Science at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, where he served as assistant and associate professor of physics and chair of the department. From there, he joined Carnegie Mellon University in the fall of 2000, initially as a visiting professor of physics; he was appointed to his current position the following year.
As the assistant head for Undergraduate Affairs for the Physics Department, Ghosh supervises the advising of all physics majors. Aside from his direct advising duties, Ghosh has been deeply involved in curriculum development and academic support for students in the department. He helped start and now guides the Physics Students Advisory Council, a forum for hearing student input on various issues like course development, program requirements and other concerns. To build a stronger, more engaged community, the Physics SAC hosts events like the Physics BBQs twice a year, open to all students interested in physics at CMU. In addition to advising, Ghosh has taught five of the six introductory courses in physics, and he has co-taught all of the mandatory physics colloquium courses since his arrival at the university. He serves as an informal advisor, sounding board, friend and mentor to many of his former students, even as they pursue other fields of study.
Ghosh is also very interested in the personal growth of CMU students outside the realm of coursework. For the last nine years, he has played a key role in the university’s “Big Questions” program. This program was first started in 2007 to help first-year students explore their own personal values and their place in a broader society. Over the years, Ghosh has been active in guiding BQ sessions and helped the BQ program recently expand to include upperclass students as well. For the past three years, he has been invited as an “Inspirational Speaker” to address over 200 new first-year students during their orientation. Within the Mellon College of Science, Ghosh took part in the seven years of intense planning that led to the launch in fall 2015 of an MCS Core Education Program that encourages well-roundedness among mathematicians and scientists. Finally, Ghosh helps lead activities related to promoting diversity at the university, including the MCS Coaching Minority Progress and Academic Success in Science (COMPASS) program and the university’s Diversity Advisory Council.