Thursday, April 2, 2009
OU's Eddie Cheng earns 2009 Distinguished Professor Award By Katie Land, news editor
Oakland University professor Eddie Cheng of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics has joined some elite ranks by receiving the President’s Council of the State Universities of Michigan (PCSUM) third annual Professor of the Year Award.
Cheng, along with Erik Goodman of Michigan State University and Steven Wright of the University of Michigan, was selected for making outstanding contributions to the education of undergraduate students.
Sponsored by the chief academic officers of the fifteen public institutions in Michigan, the three recipients of the award will be recognized at a luncheon ceremony in Lansing this May, and will be presented with a commemorative plaque and $3,000.
“Dr. Cheng is lauded for his excellent teaching and the mentoring of undergraduate students in research projects. He has published papers with undergraduate students and even with high schools students, which is a rarity for a scholar of his stature,” said Virinder Moudgil, OU’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Professor Cheng exemplifies the integration of research with the desire to advance student learning and academic success.”
Cheng’s major work has been to help students overcome their anxiety over mathematics and train the next generation of mathematicians by engaging students in the OU Summer Mathematics Institute (OUSMI), a six-week summer program for exceptional Southeastern Michigan high school students.
Active in the community, Cheng also participates in the Oakland Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer program in Computational and Numerical Statistics and Mathematics, and has served as the director of the Michigan Mathematics Prize Competition. He received the 2007 Distinguished Teaching Award for Michigan from the Mathematical Association of America.
“I feel most proud when I am able to successfully assist students who seek help in class or in my office,” Cheng said. “It is also very satisfying to see students who win awards under my guidance. One of the high school students that I am mentoring this year just won a Grand Award at the Detroit Science Fair.”
Cheng considers this award a recognition for the entire department and credits his colleagues – Moudgil, Tamara Machmut-Jhashi, associate provost and associate professor of Art History; Ronald Sodul, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and Jack Nachman, chair of the department of Mathematics and Statistics – with playing integral roles in the nomination process.