The UCA Outstanding Educator Award is presented to professors and teachers who have had an exceptional career in academia and education in the area of underground design and construction. These individuals also have made significant contributions to the industry through their academic interests, as well as the introduction of many student graduates into the industry. These individuals are nominated by their industry peers and bestowed the award by the UCA Executive Committee.
View the award guidelines
Past Award Recipients:
Levent Ozdemir retired from the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) in 2009 after 32 years of teaching and research in tunneling and underground construction. During his tenure at CSM, he developed and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in design and construction of underground structures, tunneling, site investigations, excavation project management and underground mining. He served as the advisor to masters and Ph.D. students and spent considerable effort in promoting tunneling and underground construction as a career for students in mining, civil and geological engineering. He encouraged and placed many students in internship and co-op programs with major tunneling contractors and designers. He also developed educational collaborations with prominent engineering universities and research establishments worldwide in tunneling and underground construction. Ozdemir also served as the director of CSM’s Excavation Engineering and Earth Mechanics Institute (EMI), which is recognized as one of the world’s leading research organizations involved in tunneling related research. He secured and managed more than $35 million in federally and privately funded research projects. This included the U.S. Department of Energy’s Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository program and the U.S. Air Force’s Deep Missile Base program. Ozdemir has been organizing one-day tunneling courses in conjunction with the NAT and RETC conferences since 1994. He also serves as the co-director of the three-day Microtunneling and the Breakthroughs in Tunneling short courses held annually at CSM. Ozdemir received the Engineering News Record 1992 annual award for making a significant contribution to the advancement of mechanized underground construction technologies. He has written more than 150 papers, reports and proceeding volumes. He has served on committees for professional societies on tunneling education and research. He has also worked as a tunneling consultant.
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