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LU honors Daniel Chen with 2016 University Professor award

Daniel Chen speakingLamar University honored Daniel Chen as the 2016 University Professor at a ceremony in the Mary and John Gray Library April 14, 2016.  Chen is professor in the Dan F. Smith Department of Chemical Engineering.  The title University Professor is awarded for life and is the most prestigious faculty award conferred by Lamar’s academic community.  

“The award is the pinnacle of academic achievement at Lamar University and is recognized by all as an emblem of highest merit,” said James Marquart, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Recipients are selected by their colleagues and are chosen for their academic stature and achievements, honed in the demanding and competitive culture of higher education.”

Ann Die HasselmoIn addition, Chen will become the sixth Ann Die-Hasselmo Scholar, made possible by the creation and funding of the Lamar University Faculty Excellence Endowment by Ann Die Hasselmo, a 1966 graduate of Lamar.  Honored as Lamar’s 1986 Regents’ Professor, Hasselmo was a longtime faculty member whose career path later took her to top university administrative positions and other roles devoted to strengthening academic leadership.

Chen has taught at Lamar University for 34 years at both the undergraduate and graduate level. From introductory courses for freshmen, to supervising Ph.D. students, College of Engineering Dean Srinivas Palanki calls him “an outstanding researcher, first rate educator, and an indispensable team player.”

Over the years, Chen has taught most courses in the chemical engineering curriculum, including seven undergraduate and eight graduate courses.  In addition to his own extensive teaching and research, Chen has supervised 4 Ph.D. dissertations, 10 Doctor of Engineering dissertations, 31 Master’s theses, and has served on more than 100 doctoral or master’s advisory committees.

“Dr. Chen’s dedication to engineering education can be seen from his extensive publications in his teaching areas and his sizable funding for engineering education,” Palanki said. 

Chen holds a Bachelor of Science degree from National Cheng Kung University in Tainan City, Taiwan, a master’s degree from National Taiwan University, in Taipei, and a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla., all in chemical engineering.

Chen has expertise in air and water pollution control, and process modeling and control systems. In addition to his Lamar faculty position, Chen has served as director of Lamar’s Photocatalysis Laboratory, deputy director of Lamar’s Process Engineering Center, Battelle Summer Faculty Research Fellow for the U.S. Army, research fellow for the Morgantown Energy Technology Center, and as development engineer for Chemical Engineering Consultants, Inc. 

In the classroom, Chen has implemented and used a variety of teaching modules, evaluation instruments, simulations, and software programs to familiarize and train students in the latest control system techniques. He first trained ExxonMobil engineers in state-of-the art simulation and modeling software, then shifted this knowledge to his Lamar University students. 

Daniel ChenWith several colleagues, he has published five refereed journal articles and proceeding papers on instructional techniques; developed two learning modules for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and delivered 10 conference papers on instructional strategies.  He received a teaching grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Advanced Technology Program to train high school teachers, and secured $475,000 in teaching grants from the National Science Foundation and ExxonMobil to advance STEM education. He served as faculty advisor to Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society and Omega Chi Epsilon chemical engineering honor society. 

Chen and Evans“There is no question in my mind that Dr. Chen is a first-rate faculty member who takes a deep and personal interest in his students’ success,” said University Professor T.C. Ho, chair of chemical engineering.

Chen has served, and is a member of, numerous professional organizations and associations, including the National Science Foundation, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the International Association of Technology, Education, and Development.  He has received external research support of more than $3.5 million, from The National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Energy and other federal agencies.  Altogether, he has received 22 federal grants, 20 state grants, 6 Lamar grants, and numerous industry grants.  A productive scholar, Chen has authored or co-authored a book, five book chapters, 37 refereed journal or trade articles, and more than 60 conference presentations and invited talks. He was recognized for these efforts when he was named University Scholar in 2010. 

“With his strong record and continuous drive, Dr. Chen is a tremendous asset to our University,” said Palanki.