JANUARY 21, 2009

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UCO’S Chen Receives 2008 U.S. Professor of the Year Award

Photo of UCO's Wei C hen and students.
University of Central Oklahoma's Dr. Wei Chen was honored as the 2008 U.S. Professor of the Year during the official awards reception in Washington, D.C.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) honored University of Central Oklahoma professor Dr. Wei Chen as its Outstanding Master’s Universities and Colleges “2008 U.S. Professor of the Year,” Nov. 20, at its official awards reception in Washington, D.C.

The award is one of the most prestigious in honoring national undergraduate professors, saluting how their outstanding work in the profession of teaching has positively influenced the lives and careers of their students.

Chen, who has taught more than 20 different courses over the past 20 years, was selected from nearly 300 top professors throughout the United States.  From that pool, CASE selects one national winner in four categories, of which Chen is one recipient, and then selects state winners from the remaining candidates.

 “I am deeply honored to receive this most prestigious award. I especially want to thank both my current and former students. They are why I enjoy my work so much and why I am here today. This award is as much for them as for me,” said Chen.

 “We, as professionals in education, have heavy burdens on our shoulders because what we do not only affects today’s students, but it will have a long-lasting impact on society for many years to come.”

Chen is a professor of biomedical engineering in UCO’s College of Mathematics and Science and has worked for more than a decade on research in pursuit of a solution to the treatment of metastatic melanoma.

In 2000, he established the Biomedical Engineering program at UCO, in which he serves as a director, by designing the new curriculum and new courses. He has directed dozens of UCO undergraduate students in research, many of whom have co-authored his research publications.

“This tremendous honor tells the rest of the country what we’ve known at UCO for many years – our professors are among the most extraordinary, dedicated teachers in the nation,” said UCO President Roger Webb.

“On behalf of the UCO community, I thank Dr. Chen for his commitment to helping transform the lives of our students through education.”

Chen is the recipient of numerous awards, such as the Oklahoma Da Vinci Fellow Award for Creativity among Oklahoma’s Higher Education Faculty, the National Tandy Technology Prize for Science and the Hauptman Fellowship Award, among many others.

He has also received several top awards at UCO, including Faculty Merit Credit Awards for Scholarly Activities and UCO’s highest award, the Vanderford Faculty Award in Support of Undergraduate Research.

The U.S. Professor of the Year Awards Program is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and recognizes the nation’s most outstanding undergraduate instructors.

Winners are selected by qualified peers within their institutions before being nominated for the award.

Criteria for the selection of winning professors include the impact on and involvement with undergraduate students; scholarly approach to teaching and learning; contribution to undergraduate research education in the institution; community and profession; and support from colleagues and current and former graduate students.

Established in 1905, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an individual policy and research center whose primary mission is to encourage, uphold, dignify and improve the cause of higher education.

CASE is one of the largest international associations of education institutions in the world, serving more than 3,400 universities, colleges, schools and related organizations in 61 countries.

For more information about the University of Central Oklahoma, visit www.uco.edu.