The University of Maryland recently announced recipients of the Distinguished Scholar-Teacher title for
the 2011-2012 academic year. The Robert H. Smith School of Business' very own Dr. Ritu Agarwal is one
of four professors to receive the honorary recognition this year.
The program honors tenured faculty who have demonstrated excellence, both in the classroom and with
research in their respective fields. Agarwal, professor and Dean's Chair of Information Systems at Smith,
focuses her research on advancing information technology in the field of health care.
"I'm pretty humbled by receiving this award," said Agarwal. "I have a job where I get something so
fulfilling out of doing what I love."
Agarwal has been at the university for 12 years. In 2005 she founded the Center for Health Information
and Decision Systems. According to its website, it "is designed to research, analyze, and recommend
solutions to challenges surrounding the introduction and integration of information and decision
technologies into the health care system".
Each of the program's recognized Scholar-Teachers will deliver a lecture in the fall to discuss the
work they are doing. "It is going to be more of a broad lecture than an academic one," explained
Agarwal. "The hope is that all students and teachers can come and gain something from it."
Agarwal says that her lecture will focus on her passion for using information technology to assist with
the health care industry.
In addition to being nominated by the university as a Scholar-Teacher, Agarwal had to be recommended
by students as well. She said the criteria for the award included making big contributions to scholarship
and a big impact on students as well.
Along with the prestigious distinction, the program awards each of the recognized faculty members a
$5,000 honorarium to support continuing research.
Agarwal says she has always worked in academics, because she feels it is the most fulfilling job one
can have. "You have a huge variety of work, and the autonomy over what you do as an academic is
unbeatable," she said.
Dr. Avis Cohen, Dr. Colin Phillips and Dr. Lawrence Washington are being recognized along with Agarwal,
each from a separate academic department. "It's really exciting that so many different schools are
represented by this program," said Agarwal.