The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals has recognized TCNJ Chemistry Professor Benny Chan as Educator of the Year for 2019.
Chan, who has been at the college since 2006, is a strong supporter of TCNJ’s mission to ensure the educational success of students who have traditionally been underserved in higher education. He has observed that students can have multiple characteristics that can generate stress: gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic, and sexual orientation.
“This award will help me fuel my other leadership activities at the American Chemical Society, American Society of Engineering Educators, and other engineering and scientific organizations,” Chan said. “We have a lot more work to do! I’m always looking for people that want to come along to help achieve an equity vision with a healthy disregard for the impossible.”
Chan is widely recognized as an exemplary teacher-scholar. He conducts laboratory research, engaging TCNJ undergraduates as research collaborators, on the synthesis and structural analysis of rare earth and organometallic compounds.
“Dr. Chan is a model educator both in and out of the classroom and laboratory,” said Jeffrey Osborn, Dean of the TCNJ School of Science. “He has worked tirelessly to create an inclusive learning environment in his own courses and across the Chemistry Department, the School of Science, and TCNJ. Beyond his teaching, Dr. Chan has played an important leadership role in influencing our institutional culture on equity, diversity, and inclusion for all of our students, faculty, and staff.”
In addition to his chemistry research, Chan works with an interdisciplinary team of colleagues to conduct research on equity in education. His experiences and research conclusions in both areas feed directly back into his classroom teaching.
“I encourage my students to deal with whatever issues are most prevalent for them, find pockets of support, and find multiple mentors who will support them professionally and in their identities,” he said.
Chan will be presented with his award from NOGLSTP at a ceremony in Los Angeles in March.