Patel selected Educator of the Year by architecture organization
Palm Beach State College Professor Dharmesh Patel has been selected Educator of the Year by the Palm Beach County Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Patel was chosen for his innovative initiatives to give students real-world experiences and connect them to local architects. He will be recognized during the AIA Palm Beach Design & Honor Awards Banquet tonight at Benvenuto Restaurant in Boynton Beach.
“It’s very gratifying,’’ said Patel who taught part-time at PBSC for two years before becoming a full-time architecture professor in 2009. “This is an organization that’s basically all of the Palm Beach County architects that are AIA members. It’s very humbling and good to hear they are recognizing me.”
Vicki Soderlund, president of AIA Palm Beach, said the group particularly applauds Patel for creating ArchAttack, a juried event to connect students to industry leaders and to each other. During the event, held each fall and spring term, students in Patel’s upper level design classes showcase their design projects. He invites other PBSC architecture students and professional architects in South Florida who critique the projects.
“He makes it real for the students to look to the future,’’ Soderlund said. “When they have the benefit of getting critiqued and talking to practicing architects from the community, it keeps them focused toward what they’re doing. It’s important for them to see licensed professionals.”
Patel also takes students on site visits, allowing them to get out of the classroom to explore examples of diverse projects that they will design for class. He involves them in projects to help the community. For example, for two years they have participated in “Canstruction,” a charitable event benefitting the Palm Beach County Food Bank.
Two years ago, some of his students created the “Lake Worth Image-ability project to give city leaders ideas for how to enhance the city. Patel also helped re-establish the Architecture Club and serves as its advisor as well as chair of the Architecture Department.
“Dharmesh tries to give them practical knowledge and show them involvement in the community as they would do when they become architects themselves,’’ Soderlund said.
Professor Patel was featured in the Spring 2014 edition of Contact magazine. Watch the video to learn more about him.