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Case Western Honors David Kazdan, AD8Y, for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching


At its May 21 commencement ceremonies, Ohio’s Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) honored ARRL member David Kazdan, AD8Y, with the Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. A retired anesthesiologist and virtual renaissance man, Kazdan has leveraged his passion for Amateur Radio in his Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship (SAGES) course. SAGES classes stress critical thinking, written and oral communication, the use of information, quantitative reasoning, engagement with ethical issues and diversity, and exposure to experimental and theoretical approaches to understanding human culture and behavior, scientific knowledge, and methods of research.

As part of Kazdan’s course, all students must earn an Amateur Radio license and use the Case Amateur Radio Club’s W8EDU, where he’s a club advisor. Examination sessions can include 100 students at a time. Kazdan encourages his students “to pursue virtually anything that interests them within and beyond the requirements of his course,” said an article posted in The Daily, CWRU’s e-newsletter and website.

“The curricular material is the accreditation requirement for the degree, but it’s going to be the application of that material to life that matters,” Kazdan said. “Extracurriculars, including research, are that application.” Kazdan — who’s been licensed since 1970 — and his students use Amateur Radio to frame his SAGES course, exploring distance communication and how it has shrunk the world, The Daily article recounted. Students nominated him for the award.

Kazdan holds a doctorate in biomedical engineering from CWRU as well as another degree in electrical engineering, and is a musician, birder, cyclist, photographer, licensed pilot, and drone enthusiast. He said he was “honored and proud” to be recognized.

Looking ahead, Kazdan will teach a new electrical engineering course on issues of radio communication. On his profile, Kazdan said he enjoys CW and traffic handling as well as some digital operation and occasional phone work.