An Innovative Approach

Faculty Development Initiative takes a new approach to developing tomorrow’s leaders.

A great education begins with great educators. That is the philosophy behind the College of Engineering’s Faculty Development Initiative, which supports outstanding faculty members through programs like Cornerstone Teaching Scholars.

Many years after graduation, alumni often still remember the professors who helped enlighten, motivate and mentor them. That’s one reason Darold Davis ’70, and his wife, Debbie, decided to invest in Cornerstone Teaching Scholars.

“Our ultimate goal is that professors are able to utilize the funds to better teach the engineering students at K-State,” he said. “This fund is directed toward sophomore- and junior-level professors because these are both very key levels in trying to retain students in the engineering program.”

Dr. Hani Melhem, professor of civil engineering, has been appointed the first Cornerstone Teaching Scholar.

“I love being around the students and believe that professors can have a very important role in forming their career, future and life,” Melhem said. “A professor should be a role model to the students, not only in academic aspects, but also in aspects relating to humanity, character and behavior.”

The Faculty Development Initiative takes a multi-faceted approach to developing tomorrow’s teachers and leaders. It enlists faculty as mentors for student competition teams through the Creative Inquiry Mentor Program, rewards groundbreaking research discovery through the Keystone Research Scholars Program and encourages the creation of endowed faculty chairs and professorships through private philanthropic gifts from alumni and friends.

“The initiative demonstrates that K-State, and the College of Engineering in particular, is eager to achieve and reward learning, education, scholarly activities, academic excellence and career preparation for students, in addition to research, outreach and service to the community,” Melhem said.

To learn how you can invest in the Faculty Development Initiative, contact the engineering development office at 785-532-7609 or


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Kent Sedlacek

Kent Sedlacek Senior Director of Gift, Estate and Trust Planning


Isabella Decker

Isabella Decker Student Gift Officer