Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

May-June-July 2016

UCO Names New Deans for Mathematics and Science, Liberal Arts

Wei Chen, Ph.D., has been named dean of the University of Central Oklahoma College of Mathematics and Science, and Catherine Webster, Ph.D., has been named dean of the UCO College of Liberal Arts. Both posts are effective July 1.

Chen, the 2008 U.S. Professor of the Year and a 2011 recipient of a Fulbright Scholar grant to teach biomedical engineering and conduct cancer treatment research in Taiwan, has served the college as interim dean since August 2015 and as an assistant dean since 2006. He joined Central as a physics lecturer in 1994.

University Provost John Barthell, Ph.D., noted that Chen’s references emphasize his charismatic nature and unparalleled commitment to advancing experience-based learning for UCO students

“Dr. Chen was an architect of the biomedical research program in UCO's department of engineering and physics. He also has been instrumental in garnering millions of dollars of federal funding that has emphasized student-centered research, including work to combat metastatic cancer in humans,” said Barthell.

Chen received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Shandong University in China and later completed his master’s and doctoral degrees, also in physics, at the University of Oregon. He is a member of the inaugural class of UCO’s Luminary Society and has been honored with numerous distinctions while at Central, including the Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Teaching, a DaVinci Fellow award, several UCO Faculty Merit-Credit awards for teaching, service, research and creative activity, the Vanderford Faculty award, and the Neely Excellence in Teaching award.

Webster is currently serving in her third year as the chair of the UCO department of modern languages. Since arriving at Central in 2006, Webster has attained tenure and the rank of professor.

“Dr. Webster has an exemplary record of career accomplishments that includes full-time administrative positions as assistant dean for the pre-college program and later first-year class dean at Barnard College in New York, as well as the assistant director of new student orientation at the University of Kansas,” said Barthell.

“She is described by her references as a collaborative, energetic and creative leader with extraordinary promise for this position.”

Webster has been honored with recognitions including the College of Liberal Arts Faculty Member of the Year award, a Faculty Merit-Credit award for outstanding service, a DaVinci Fellow award and the Vanderford Distinguished Teaching award.

Webster completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Columbia University in French and student personnel administration, respectively. She later received a Ph.D. in French from New York University.

Campus E-Clips is published by the Communicators Council, an advisory group to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education comprised of Oklahoma higher education public information officers. All stories are submitted to a review panel of council members for editing and selection. To submit a story, please contact the participating council member from your institution. Stories must meet newsletter submission guidelines. Click here to view the Guidelines. For additional information, email newsletter@osrhe.edu. Site hosted by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Disclaimer