Wei R. Chen, professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Central Oklahoma (Edmond, OK), has been named Master's Universities and Colleges Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Chen is an SPIE Fellow and has served for several years served as chair of the conference on Biophotonics and Immune Responses at SPIE Photonics West.
Chen is one of four national winners of the 2008 U.S. Professors of the Year awards, recognized for their influence on teaching and their commitment to undergraduate students. He engages students in inquiry-based learning through experiments and simulations in his classes. In 2000, Chen led an effort to establish a biomedical engineering undergraduate degree program at Central Oklahoma. His interdisciplinary approach extends to his research on cancer treatment; students working in his lab use laser immunotherapy, which incorporates fields including laser physics, engineering design, biology and chemistry. Chen was noted for his efforts to use local and regional networks for the benefit of his students.
The U.S. Professors of the Year program, created in 1981, is the only national initiative specifically designed to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring. In addition to the four national winners, state-level Professors of the Year are being recognized in 44 states, the District of Columbia and Guam.
This year's award winners were selected from a pool of nearly 300 nominees. Judges select national and state winners based on four criteria: impact on and involvement with undergraduate students; scholarly approach to teaching and learning; contributions to undergraduate education in the institution, community and profession; and support from colleagues and current and former undergraduate students.
For more information, see CASE/Carnegie's original announcement