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Published May 16, 2022
A longtime University of Wyoming faculty member who has helped thousands of students navigate the difficult introductory calculus course has been honored for his excellent work with students.
Man-Chung Yeung, an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, is one of three recipients of the 2022 John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award. The award was established in 1977 by businessman John P. “Jack” Ellbogen to “foster, encourage and reward excellence in classroom teaching at UW.” This year’s other recipients of the award are Marci Smith, a senior lecturer in the Division of Kinesiology and Health, and Jianting Zhu, a professor in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management.
“Although Man-Chung has taught a variety of courses in our department, I am grateful that he has made ‘Calculus I’ one of his staple courses, often teaching a section -- or, more often in recent years, two sections -- in each of his spring and fall semesters,” says Professor Eric Moorhouse, who has served as coordinator of the core undergraduate course for many years. “Man-Chung’s sections consistently have among the highest enrollment of any of our calculus sections. This fact is somewhat of an anomaly for an instructor with a Chinese name in a U.S. state so far from the coast; but, after reading his course evaluations, you will come to realize that Man-Chung is something of a rock star among our undergraduate students.”
“Dr. Yeung has built within me an immense passion for mathematics and the ability to understand the world around me,” says undergraduate student Madyson Willis, a physiology major from Casper who took his “Calculus I” course in fall 2020. “As an educator, he went above and beyond, filling the real purpose of an educator, kindling a flame of desire and joy for progress. Dr. Yeung is the definition of excellence in the classroom.”
Yeung, who has been a member of UW’s faculty since 2001, also teaches a number of other courses, including upper-division and graduate-level classes. Second-year Ph.D. student Ben Kisley, from Colorado Springs, Colo., took the “Computational Methods” course from Yeung in spring 2021 -- delivered online at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic -- and says Yeung “shone” in that format.
“Although our lectures were over Zoom, Professor Yeung was still able to create a unique and comfortable classroom environment,” Kisley says. “Students were encouraged to ask questions and get in on the discussion, and it felt almost identical to the flow and rapport of a traditional classroom setting.”
Students have attested to his excellence for many years, as he twice has received UW’s Promoting Intellectual Engagement in the First Year Award, as well as the College of Arts and Sciences Extraordinary Merit in Teaching Award.
Professor Bryan Shader says he’s frequently asked for recommendations on whose “Calculus I” course to take. It’s a difficult course to teach because of the wide range of backgrounds and skills of the students; many haven’t done well in math in the past; and the fact that it is a fast-paced, four-hour-per-week course.
“It is easy to recommend Man-Chung, primarily based on discussions with his past students who indicate he is demanding, fair and helps students understand the math,” Shader says. “He is a tremendous teaching asset for UW.”
“Dr. Yeung exemplifies what the John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award is all about,” says Professor Jason Williford, head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. “He is a distinguished and dedicated teacher who provides his students tangible insights into the whys and wherefores of math, from basic calculus to graduate applied math. In short, he makes our institution a better place for our students.”
Yeung earned his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the University of California-Los Angeles; his master’s degree from the University of Hong Kong; and his bachelor’s degree from Jinan University in China.