Narayan, Dr. Venki: Physics Faculty Member

Dr. Venki Narayan was hired as a full-time engineering faculty member in September 1983, achieved the rank of professor, and retired in May 2010, after 27 years of dedicated and accomplished service.  Upon his retirement, he was granted Emeritus status.

Venki created the materials science program, built up the materials science lab and articulated the materials science lecture and lab course with UC / CSU.  He was the advisor to the engineering design club, and in this capacity led and supervised the design and construction of a high-mileage car, a project which won the 2nd place in a competition open to all Universities in the West and organized by AAA / CHP in Sacramento.

In addition to his leadership in the engineering department, Venki was equally responsible for curriculum development and classroom instruction in the physics department.  Besides teaching all five courses in the engineering program, Venki enthusiastically and successfully taught PHYS108, 120, 121, 140, 141 and 142 at various points in time.

Venki introduced computer-based data acquisition methods into the physics curriculum.  He created the course PHYS108 for non-science majors, and articulated it for GE purposes.  He reorganized the lab for PHYS141 and provided and introduced a variety of exciting demonstrations in electromagnetism for this course.  He wrote a lab manual for PHYS 142 and actively sought to integrate and teach biological applications into the PHYS120/121 sequence, making sure to tailor it to the needs of biomed majors.

Venki continually strived to perfect his teaching and kept himself informed of developments and techniques in science education through his membership with the American Association of Physics Teachers, and regularly participated in their Northern California workshops.  He also served on the college’s Affirmative Action Committee.

Venki distinguished himself in outreach efforts to attract young people to the STEM disciplines offered at Ohlone College, by organizing scientific demonstrations, often incorporating self-made designs, in local schools like Mission San Jose High and Parkmont Elementary, as well as by regularly participating as a judge at Science Fairs.  After his retirement, Venki still made himself available to teach classes and substitute on a purely voluntary basis.

Venki was to his colleagues a warm and most welcoming friend, an experienced, open-minded and sympathetic mentor, as well as a man with fair and good judgment.