Professor Nadeem Naqvi from the Department of Economics received the KIMEP PIE award for the Best Professor of the year
The award is for the academic year 2014/15
Professor Naqvi is a highly reputed economist with publications in major journals including the American Economic Review and an impressive record of PhD supervision. His eclectic career started with a PhD from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1984 and took him to Georgia State University, Athens; the World Bank, Washington DC; Middle Tennessee State University; the American University in Bulgaria and the University of Giessen. He joined the Economics Department of KIMEP University in January 2013. As instructor of the KIMEP-wide course “Introduction to Economics” he became known to a wider audience within the KIMEP community.
Interview with Dr. Nadeem Navi
You are known as one of the most famous professors in KIMEP. What is the secret of such popularity?
You would have to ask those who like my style of teaching. All I can tell you is that a professor (i) has to like the people in the classroom, and (ii) has to enjoy teaching.
I really appreciate the company of my students, and I have much fun teaching them. That is why, at the end of each class, I thank my students for coming to class. After all, they give me so much joy!
As a professor, you have one of the largest number of students in each class. What is the major difficulty in working with so many students?
It is true that I have 195 students registered in my classes in the Spring semester of 2015, and this number may be somewhat larger than usual. The difficulty, though, is not so much with the teaching part, as it is with the logistics of administering the course, proctoring and grading quizzes and exams, and meeting students during office hours. But, I am lucky to have the three of the best possible teaching assistants: Parvina Kurbanova, Izzat Kukhamedov and Alina Saberlinova. With such three additional right arms, all difficulties vanish.
What was the most interesting situation during your teaching career in KIMEP?
One day I showed up for class, and couldn’t understand why all classrooms were locked. The security guards tried to tell me something in the Russian language, but, of course, I couldn’t understand what they were saying, because I don’t know the language. It turned out, eventually, that it was a Sunday.
What do you like in your work the most?
The sheer energy, the excitement, the electricity in the air, when my students’ minds and mine join together to form a single organism, that’s the greatest feeling. I don’t believe there exists any drug – pharmaceutical or street drug – that can give the kind of high that I feel when I am one with my students, in pursuit of solving the densest possible problems in economics. Can you imagine the power of so many minds working together? It is greater than the force of a thousand nuclear bombs!
Additionally, aside from seeing the joy on the faces of my students when understanding dawns upon them in the midst of their struggle to understand, aside from that, seeing the satisfaction, the happiness, on the faces of the parents at graduation ceremony, makes it all worth the hard work that teaching involves.
What in your opinion makes KIMEP different from other universities?
KIMEP University is, without doubt, the best university in the entire Central Asia region. We also have collaborative and dual-degree programs with many universities around the world, including several in Europe. This is a strength and a distinguishing feature.
Moreover, we have a diversity of students from so many different countries: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, South Korea, the United States, France, and now even Afghanistan, among other countries.
Overall, though, it is the quality of our students that makes KIMEP great. Let me mention just two indicators. First, how many universities in the world can boast of the truly fantastic placement record that rivals that of KIMEP? Second, I once asked my students in the Introduction to Economics class – and each section has 85 students – if there was anyone who had NOT done calculus in school. Not one student raised his or her hand. Not one! I can tell you from my experience of teaching in the U.S. for a quarter of a century; this would never happen there.
What did you feel when received the award of “Professor of the year”?
Gratitude! It was voted on and awarded to me exclusively by students. My students are, after all, the best judge of my teaching. I value their verdict – insofar as they hate it or love it – far more than I value the opinion of any professor anywhere in the world.
What is your wish for all KIMEP students?
Success. May you shine as bright as the brightest stars!
What advice can you give your students to reach their future goals and to become successful?
Make use of all that KIMEP has to offer, and we do have much to offer. You are spending your time, and your parents’ money, so don’t waste it. Participate in the life of the university in addition to studying.
The new century, from my perspective, is your century. It will require you to solve problems we don’t even know exists today. So, pick up all the tools you can, imbibe a diversity of experiences, and, above all, bring reason, not prejudice, to bear on the choices that you make in life.