May 20, 2015//
Meet Shamshad Khan. One of UTSA's new 2014-2015 faculty members, Khan is an assistant professor of communication in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts. In addition to his career as an academic, Khan has served as an assistant editor for the National Herald in his native India, worked in the NGO sector, and taught history as a lecturer for the Jamia Millia University in New Delhi, India.
The world is changing. In the 21st century, citizenship goes beyond the traditional boundaries of the state. ”
– Shamshad Khan
Khan's research interests focus on sustainable communication models for health intervention, with a particular emphasis on HIV prevention in marginalized communities. He documents the successful approaches of global outreach programs for the emulation of future efforts, and explores the individual and group experiences of those afflicted. His work has taken him to disease- and strife-ridden communities in Asia and Africa, where he looks at how larger social structures—like economic status, gender, education and caste—affect the choices and lifestyles of individuals most susceptible to diseases.
In collaboration with Robert Lorway from the University of Manitoba, Khan is assessing the economic, socio-cultural and political effects of the Gates Foundation-sponsored India AIDS initiative, Avahan. The initiative, which recently came to an end and was transitioned to the Indian government, distinguished itself from other western outreach programs in that it provided enormous resources and managerial skills for large-scale interventions, while local leaders built and managed the infrastructure.
"This innovative project, we hope, will form a basis for a community-based science and health communication program that points to new ways that public health scientists can engage with and work alongside stigmatized and marginalized populations," Khan explains.
In another project, Khan and Lorway explore the HIV vulnerability of male sex workers in Nairobi, Kenya and possible approaches to address it. Funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, the project is grounded in community-based research and action principals, with the goal of establishing a network between communities in India and Kenya that will build a sustainable and community-driven model of HIV/AIDS prevention.
Participation is equally important to Khan in the classroom, and he credits his own professors for his Socratic approach to teaching.
"I do not use the transmission model of education, where I'm the knowledge bank," he said. "My courses are often structured as a dialogue, with my students as active participants. I often tell my students that they are a part of the of the knowledge production. We all learn from each other."
Khan also encourages his students to become critically engaged in the world. He believes that the college experience should go beyond earning credit hours, graduating and finding a job; the role of education, he says, is to develop informed and actively engaged global citizens.
To that end, while teaching Intercultural Communication in the fall, Khan offered extra credit opportunities for students who took the initiative to explore other cultures' festivals and events.
"The world is changing. In the 21st century, citizenship goes beyond the traditional boundaries of the state," he said.
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