Bernhardt Saini-Eidukat, associate professor of geology
Published August 2016
Students describe Bernhardt Saini-Eidukat as caring and helpful. He has taught a wide range of NDSU courses from introductory geology to difficult upper level courses on rocks, minerals and water geochemistry. He earned his bachelor's degrees and doctorate at the University of Minnesota.
Saini-Eidukat has received several awards that recognize teaching and scholarly excellence, including:
- Two Fulbright Scholar awards
- 2001 Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology
- 2005 Walter F. and Verna Gehrts Endowed Professorship
As one student said, "Bernie makes learning fun."
How did you decide to pursue your profession?
As a little kid growing up in St. Paul, Minnesota, I watched the Apollo moon landings on a small black and white TV in our living room. Like so many others, I became fascinated with space exploration. A few years later I was introduced to a professor at the University of Minnesota who was studying actual lunar rock samples returned by the astronauts. Then in high school, l had the chance to go on a field expedition to search for fossils in Montana, and I was really hooked. In college, I went straight into studying geology and geophysics.
What do you like best about teaching?
Introducing students to big picture concepts they don't even know exist before they start the course, and seeing them get excited about learning how these earth systems work.
What is your favorite class or topic to teach?
One would be a two-semester sequence on minerals and rocks I teach that culminates with the students doing their own hands-on research projects. They really learn the process of scientific inquiry that way. And the field courses – there's nothing you can do in the classroom that's quite like standing on an erupting volcano.
How would you describe your teaching style?
I try to tell an engaging scientific story that leads to an "aha" moment. Sometimes the students are given the beginning of the story, and they work out the ending. There are many subplots to an over-arching story that might be revealed over the course of months.
How do you know you’ve succeeded with a student or a class?
When you hear from a student after they've moved on from NDSU, about how well they are doing in their career, whatever it might be.
What is the most common trait or traits of successful students?
Curiosity, creativity, willingness to take risks and dedication.
What has been the best moment of your teaching career so far?
I can't pick just one. It's great any time a student is successful in a goal they seek, whether it's getting a coveted position or being accepted to graduate school.
What is your favorite film or book featuring a teacher?
The Harry Potter series, of course.
What is your favorite NDSU tradition?
Choosing a student as commencement speaker.