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Haviarova Named Distinguished Educator by SWST

Dr. Eva Haviarova, professor of wood products, has been recognized with the Distinguished Educator Award by the International Society of Wood Science and Technology.

Eva Haviarova headshotThe award, which is given by SWST to one deserving individual in teaching or in extension/outreach each year, recognizes faculty and instructors for sustained excellence in teaching that incites intellectual curiosity in students, inspires colleagues and makes students aware of significant relationships between the academia and the world at large.
Nominees must be current members of SWST and have taught at least two wood-related courses in the last two years. Selection for the award considers excellence in:
  • Effective design and redesign of courses
  • Ability to engage and inspire students’ independent and critical thinking
  • Enthusiasm and vitality in learning and teaching
  • Active involvement in and guidance of student research projects
  • Mentoring students with personal attention and care, even beyond the classroom
  • Mentorship and supervision of undergraduate or graduate student instructors that facilitates effective teaching
“Dr. Haviarova has proven herself to be a very effective and passionate instructor in all of her courses,” said Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources department head Dr. Bob Wagner, in his nomination letter. “She is well-liked and respected by her students, and her international background offers a unique global perspective for our students. Dr. Haviarova gets deeply involved in her student’s projects, which have resulted in 14 international awards for furniture design. She also incorporates her research and extension work into her teaching, which helps our students connect directly with the forest products industry. She is an excellent mentor with the goal of helping students thrive in their classes and ultimately securing employment in the industry. One key to her success is combining her wood products expertise with her interpersonal skills to facilitate a strong connection with her students.”
Haviarova’s commitment to her students is best exemplified by this quote she gave in a story about her involvement in an off-campus project with Purposeful Design in Indianapolis, a custom furniture building business that trains and employs individuals whose lives have been derailed by difficult pasts, including incarceration, addiction or homelessness.
Eva Haviarova holds a chair while talking to a student“When I’m looking at my students I’m always looking at their futures,” Haviarova said. “I want them to have a good education, a good life and options.”

Haviarova, who earned her PhD in wood science from Purdue in 2000, joined FNR in 2001 as a director of the Wood Research Laboratory. In 2004, she became an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2009 and to full professor in August 2020.

In her time at Purdue, Haviarova has taught 10 undergraduate courses, including five in the spring of 2021: World Forests and Society (FNR 23000), Global Sustainability Issues (FNR 30200), Furniture Product Development and Strength Design (FNR 41910), Furniture for CNC Manufacturing (FNR 48400), and Identification and Basic Properties of Wood (FNR 31110) and a variety of independent studies. In the past, she also has taught Furniture Cabinet Design and Manufacture (2004-2015) and led spring break or summer study abroad courses - Forestry and Forest Products in Latin America (2006), Sustainability Issues in Central America (2013-15) and Sustainability Issues in Europe (2018).

Haviarova was instrumental in developing the Sustainable Biomaterials: Process and Products Design major and a new forestry SUBO concentration, which integrates the disciplines of material science, sustainable product design, manufacturing and environmental impact. She also led the curriculum development for a minor in furniture design, an interdisciplinary program in cooperation with Creative Art that integrates artistic design with the strength design.

Her innovative teaching included introducing the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) tool SimaPro as part of her teaching to support sustainability measures. She regularly attends workshops provided by the Center for Instructional Excellence to hone her teaching skills and incorporate new ideas into her teaching.

She complements the teaching of theories and concepts with real-world applications and hands-on experiences. In demonstrating product development as a complete process, she teaches students how to identify, source, process, grade and dry material (FNR 31101), before leading them in designing, evaluating and producing strong and appealing products from earlier processed materials (FNR 41910 and 48400).
Dr. Eva Haviarova poses next to a stairwellOne student summed up Haviarova and her courses by saying: “Dr. Haviarova is great at getting students involved in a way that makes them more engaged and attentive to their work. Her classes offered many opportunities for us to incorporate our own personal interests into the topics and projects we worked on, which I think made us more invested and created a fun learning environment. I quickly noticed how she not only wanted to teach students but get to know them as people and utilize these stronger connections to inspire and motivate them further. Her involvement built a valuable level of trust and understanding with the students that was rare to find on such a large campus. I believe that the course of my life has been greatly impacted by the experiences I’ve had as her student. I have not only grown intellectually, but also personally and I know that she’s instilled skills and lessons that I’ll carry with me throughout my life.”

In addition to teaching, Haviarova acts as co-advisor of The Forest Products Society student chapter. She actively seeks employment opportunities for her students and connects them with industry professionals through internships, mentorships and more.

She has acted as the major professor for nine graduate students over the years including four currently (two master’s and two PhD), and has served on the committees of nine others. Haviarova also has advised at least one undergraduate student per semester in special problems and independent research courses.

"Working with students is the best part of my job," Haviarova said. "The highlight of the Distinguished Educator Award was reading very positive statements from my students, expressing that my work and actions positively influenced their lives.”

Haviarova also has impacted the world with her research, publishing more than 70 peer-reviewed publications and delivering more than 200 professional presentations.

Haviarova has given back to the forest products community as President of the Society of Wood Science and Technology (2018-19) and is now serving as Past President. She also served on the board of the Forest Products Society (2008-11), and is a member of the Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Honor Society, the Ohio Valley Section of the Forest Products Society, North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture and the Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association.

One colleague stated that “Dr. Haviarova is the most selfless and tireless university educator I have ever known. She is the epitome of magnanimity and industriousness and, at the same time, she is incredibly humble and unassuming, gaining great satisfaction from what it is she does rather than demanding or basking in recognition for it. She is passionate about teaching both inside and outside of the classroom and that passion is infectious.”

Distinguished Educator Award recipients will be recognized at the annual SWST International Conference in August 2021.

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