David Silverstein, director of the University of Kentucky engineering program at Paducah and professor of chemical engineering, is currently teaching at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand as a Visiting Erskine Fellow. The endowed program enables up to 70 academics from top universities worldwide to teach at the University of Canterbury for a period of time each year.
“Since I arrived, I have met professors from Australia, Ireland, China and the United States,” says Dr. Silverstein. “There are 24 Fellows in the program at this time. We contribute to the University of Canterbury through lectures to both professional students and post-graduates, as well as through research and other collaborative work.”
Dr. Silverstein is teaching the first part of a course in Process Dynamics and Control (ENCH391) to a class of close to 60 2nd Professional Year students (the equivalent of the junior year in most American colleges), where his responsibilities lie on the Process Dynamics part of the course. He was invited on the basis of a reference from a prior Visiting Erskine Fellow and a subsequent review of his ample qualifications.
The fellowship provided for Dr. Silverstein and his wife, Eve’s, transportation to New Zealand, on-campus housing and a small daily living stipend. The Silversteins’ three children, Grace, Aaron and Lily also made the trip.
“Prior to the start of my teaching responsibilities, we toured the North Island of New Zealand, driving from Auckland to Wellington and spent time where the movies The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were filmed. Since then we’ve been touring on the South Island on weekends and as my weekday schedule allows.”
The Silversteins will stay at the University of Canterbury for approximately one and a half months while he teaches the course. Throughout his fellowship, Dr. Silverstein has remained engaged with the Paducah program, despite the fact that Christchurch is 17 hours ahead of Paducah.
Dr. Silverstein has served at UK Paducah since 1999. Upon his arrival, he was tasked with building an independent student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) for the Paducah Campus. From the beginning, he has established a tradition of professional dedication and outreach among the Paducah students that has led to the chapter receiving an Outstanding Student Chapter Award 11 years in a row—every year since its inception. In recognition of his outstanding achievements as chapter advisor, Silverstein received the national AIChE Outstanding Student Chapter Advisor Award in 2009. This past April, Dr. Silverstein won one of two of the inaugural Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Service, presented by the dean of the UK College of Engineering, John Walz.