Hard work, integrity, and a passion for students is what Anisul Islam, a University of Houston-Downtown economics professor, values most in his professional life.
"I love working with students, especially at UHD where many students are first generation college students like me. This is a great motivator for me and I am always available to them," Islam said.
His many accomplishments demonstrate his desire to serve and assist students. He founded the International Business degree program and the study abroad program in the UHD College of Business, and created several student organizations at UHD, including the International Business Association. Islam also serves as a mentor, faculty advisor and degree coordinator within the college.
Islam has received more than 40 professional commendations, including UHD's Award for Excellence in Scholarly and Professional Activity, Award for Excellence in Service and Award for Excellence in Teaching.
"I am most thrilled by the teaching awards because I love teaching so much. I conduct research for my own love of learning, but teaching is the most rewarding part of my job," he said.
Islam credits his uncle, a high school headmaster and economics teacher, for his passion for teaching.
Islam was born in a rural area of Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world. After losing his parents at an early age, the uncle raised Islam and became his driving motivation to enter college, an unusual feat in his community
"He was my role model," said Islam. "No one from my town went to college, but I wanted to be like my uncle and get an education to help improve my life."
Islam attended Dhaka University and received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in economics. The University of Alberta offered Islam educational and employment opportunities that brought him to North American and gave him the opportunity to earn a doctorate in economics.
He joined UHD's Department of Finance, Accounting and Computer Information Systems in 1990 and credits warm weather, a growing metropolis and the school's diverse environment as primary reasons for the move.
"The university has a multi-cultural student body, faculty and staff and a culture of acceptance that was helpful in making my decision to teach here," said Islam. "I love being here and have never thought of relocating."
Islam said he thinks UHD is very welcoming and has a wonderful faculty that maintains a true focus on teaching and serving students.
"I try to give my best to students because I want them to know they can turn their lives around like I did with hard work, an accepting attitude and a high level of integrity," Islam said.