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Published: 2024-02-26 Updated: 2024-02-27, 11:01

Physicist honoured with pedagogical award

NEWS Jens Zamanian, associate professor at the Department of Physics, Umeå University, has been awarded the Faculty of Science and Technology's Pedagogical Prize 2024. The prize will be awarded in connection with the university's annual ceremony this autumn.

”I knew I was nominated, but I didn't have much hope of winning the prize” says Jens Zamanian. ”When I learnt that I had received it, I was both happy and moved. It feels great that those who work most with teaching and educational issues are recognised in this way.”

Jens Zamanian has been programme director for the Master's Programme in Physics for several years. He is also director of studies for internationalisation at his department. Both of these roles involve constant contact with students. He teaches several introductory courses, including quantum mechanics, solid state physics, electromagnetism and electrodynamics. Over the past year, Jens Zamanian has been a driving force in developing an application to start a three-year Bachelor's programme in Physics.

He is now being honoured with the Faculty of Science and Technology's pedagogical prize. Prize motivation:

"Jens Zamanian receives the award for his pedagogical skills, his strong and significant commitment to the faculty's educational issues and his professional and appreciated work with international students."

Likes problem solving

What are the main drivers for you when it comes to teaching - and developing our programmes?

"I really enjoy teaching," says Jens Zamanian. ”Seeing how students develop through a course or programme is very motivating. As a physicist I like problem solving and I think this is reflected in how I think about education. For example, when a student asks about a problem, I must try to understand what the student understands and then find a good way to push the student (not literally) in the right direction so that they can find the answer themselves. It's great to see how the penny drops.”

As a physicist I like problem solving and I think this is reflected in how I think about education

In addition to efforts for the physics programmes, Jens Zamanian has been strongly involved in developing the faculty's programmes as a whole, including as a member of the Education Committee and the council for development and quality issues. He has also led the development project "Improved examination frequency through course restructuring" and a study on the educational offerings in the field of physics and applied mathematics.

AI in education engages

What interests you most in education right now?

”I find it very exciting to follow how artificial intelligence will affect our education in the future and how this tool can be used in a good way. It is also interesting to follow and try to apply new research findings on how humans learn" says Jens Zamanian.

”I also work a lot with internationalisation. Many things are changing in this area because we have just come out of a pandemic and also because of the climate crisis. It is no longer obviously good to fly halfway around the world to study for a semester at a good university, as was perhaps the case in the past. My focus is on developing our partnerships with European universities where you can travel in a more climate-friendly way. It is also interesting to see how new variants of student exchanges are developed, such as blended mobility, where you study a shorter course, partly at a distance.”

For more information, please contact:

Jens Zamanian
Associate professor