Dr. Sai Bhatawadekar is an Associate Professor of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures. She states that she and her students transform the classroom into a “dynamic, vibrant, hilarious and stimulating learning environment that brings out the best in all of them.” Colleagues who have observed her classes say that they have been inspired by her teaching practices. The depth and breadth of her extensive, eclectic research has significantly and profoundly impacted her teaching. One student defines her own career path as only a dream previous to Bhatawedekar’s influence on her, saying “her influence on student success advances the academic community of the university in cultivating new expectations for those born and raised in Hawaiʻi.”
She did her Masters in German Film Studies (Wim Wenders’ films) and her PhD in German-Indian Comparative Philosophy. She has written articles on Schopenhauer and Vedanta, Cross-cultural theory, and Hegel and Islam. She has also published on the depiction of Indian diaspora in Bollywood. At the Ohio State University, she created and designed a brand new Hindi language and culture program and taught it very successfully for 6 years. She is designing and teaching the Hindi-Urdu program here at UH, is on the board of the Honolulu Bollywood Film Festival, and has also started a Bollywood dance group – Aaja Nachle. Sai brings her acting, singing, and dancing skills into the classroom to create a Bollywood inspired learning atmosphere. Her students have shown incredible creativity, poetic sensibility, melodrama, and just pure joy in learning. Her teaching has earned her the University Teaching Award at Ohio State and the Board of Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching at UH.