M. Qasim Zaman, Robert H. Niehaus '77 Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Religion and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Studies, will receive one of four Graduate Mentoring Awards handed out by the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning and will be honored during the Graduate School’s Hooding ceremony Monday, June 5, on Cannon Green.
The mentoring award recognizes Princeton faculty members who nurture the intellectual, professional and personal growth of their graduate students. Graduate students nominate faculty members for the award and, together with faculty members, serve on the committee that selects the winners. The award honors faculty in each academic division (engineering, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences) and includes a $1,000 prize and a commemorative gift.
Muhammad Qasim Zaman, who joined the Princeton faculty in 2006, studies religious and political institutions of medieval and modern Islam. Students described him as a “gifted pedagogue” whose “intellectual curiosity is contagious.” One former student, currently an assistant professor, appreciated Zaman’s dedication to answering inquiries: “I once asked him a question on the first day of our seminar regarding the translation of a specific term in Arabic. Professor Zaman returned the following week with a photocopy of the original Arabic, the term circled and several leads for me, should I choose to do further research.” Another former student, reflecting on his Ph.D. dissertation, said, “While occasionally providing eye-opening remarks about possible pitfalls and suggestions for sharpening the argument or limiting the source base, what stood out for me was his willingness to put me in charge of the whole project.” Several graduate students enjoyed working as preceptors in Zaman’s course “Muslims and the Qur’an.” One preceptor said she “truly appreciated the chance to try my hand at tough administrative and pedagogical problems,” while another was thankful for Zaman’s “heartwarming and encouraging note, commending us for the content of our presentations.” Zaman also mentors students beyond their time at Princeton. One former graduate student, now an assistant professor, said, “After I graduated, Zaman has always been willing to make himself available to me, in person or by email, no matter how busy he may be.” Another noted, “His care for our wellbeing in and out of the classroom makes him not only a wonderful teacher but a sincere and humble human being.”