The College of Arts & Sciences is pleased to announce that the winner of the Lucrezia Culicchia Award for Teaching Excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences for 2017 is Dr. Yuh-Cherng Chai in the Department of Chemistry.
Dr. Chai received his Ph.D. from Iowa State University. Prior to joining the faculty at John Carroll, Dr. Chai worked at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute. During that time he was awarded the Tarazi Prize for significant achievement in cardiovascular research. He began teaching at John Carroll as a Visiting Assistant Professor in 2002. He specializes in biochemistry, and regularly teaches general chemistry and biochemistry classes and labs.
The selection committee notes that Dr. Chai was nominated by a student, who praised him for balancing “high goals and a highly demanding educational experience” with individual care, support, and attention inside and outside of the classroom; in other words, Dr. Chai finds the right combination of “maximal learning inspiration… while minimizing associated stress.” Professor Chai, the student wrote, “not only dedicates his entire life to facilitating students’ deep understanding and respect” for chemistry, but also dedicate himself “to the all-around well-being of each and every student.” An alumnus noted that Dr. Chai sets his expectations clearly on the first day of class: “Know everything.” But that same alum praised Dr. Chai for fostering the desire to learn and to prepare for every class. He marveled that he can still recall course content from Chai’s classes seven years later due to Chai’s passion for cultivating students’ abilities to ask questions and think critically about the material, rather than simply memorize facts. This combination of challenge and support is integral to the student learning experience at John Carroll, and it is everywhere abundant in students’ and colleagues’ characterizations of Chai’s teaching.
The College of Arts & Sciences congratulates Dr. Chai on this well-deserved award and is grateful for the exceptional classroom environment he provides for our students.