Southeast Missouri State University

Dr. Jai Dahiya

Department of Physics and Engineering Physics

Dr. Jai Dahiya has been teaching physics at Southeast for more than 20 years in the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics. He has won the College of Science and Mathematics Research Award and the College of Science and Mathematics PRIDE award three times each. He has also won the Faculty Merit Award in 2001.

Jai earned his Bachelor of Science in physics, chemistry and math from Punjab University, his Master of Science in physics from Meerut University and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of North Texas. The India native grew up in a small village near India’s capitol, New Delhi. His academic areas of interest are microwave spectroscopy and nanotechnology, and he has always had a passion for science as well as education.

Jai moved to the United States to pursue his Ph.D., and upon graduation he began teaching at a small private college in West Virginia. He was ready for a change, and this prompted him to apply for a position at Southeast.

“The moment I joined Southeast, I realized this was the ideal university for me and also an ideal place to raise my children,” he says.

Jai wanted a place where his family would be comfortable and happy, and he believes Southeast provides that.

His favorite thing about being a professor is getting undergraduate students involved in research.

“During my 27-year career at Southeast, I have involved more than 60 undergraduate students in research,” he says.

Research is a true passion of Jai’s and he encourages all students to get involved. In the classroom he enjoys having open conversations instead of lectures.

“I want to make sure students understand the basic concepts of physics and are able to apply these concepts in solving problems,” he says. “I like students to come to the front of the class and be able to explain the solution to a particular problem.”

He feels it is important that students are fully grasping the concepts, and he tries to make himself available to assist students.

“I always tell students to attend class regularly and don't miss any classes. In physics, it becomes very difficult to understand concepts once you start missing classes. I also tell students to demonstrate leadership qualities by coming in front of class and being in charge. I use these skills in teaching UI-100 as well as the physics classes that I teach.”

He has been the Associate Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at Southeast since 1999. He has also brought a large number of students from India to various programs at Southeast, such as MBA, Industrial Management, etc.

In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, seeing different cultures and trying different foods. His favorite place to travel is Malaga, Spain. In the future he plans to visit Australia and Colombia. He also enjoys reading, especially books about astronomy. He is currently reading a book about Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winning physicist.