Chang Kyong Choi, encourages his students to visit him in his office as much as they want. In doing so, he creates a personalized learning connection and, what he calls an "inclusive classroom environment." Choi's efforts have earned him Michigan Tech's 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award.
Chang Kyong Choi has been at Michigan Technological University for less than a decade, but despite that relatively brief period of time, his personalized, engaging teaching style has brought him the University’s highest teaching honor.
Choi, affectionately known as “CK”, an associate professor in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department, is the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award in the Associate Professor/Professor category.
Choi received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Chung-ang University in Seoul, Korea and earned a PhD from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He expanded his research in biomedical engineering and biology before coming to Michigan tech in 2009.
Choi emphasizes a personalized learning connection with each of his students, achieved through active individual meetings while valuing what he calls the “unique ideas, experiences, strengths and attitudes” each student brings to the classroom.”
"We could all tell how passionate he is about teaching by the fact that during his lectures, he would eventually start shouting at us because he was so excited about the material."Student of Chang Kong Choi
His students seem to agree. As one student puts it, “I’ve never had an instructor ask their students to come to office hours so much. He makes time for you if you can’t make it during a specific time, and every time I’ve met with him, I took something valuable away from it.”
Choi works to create what he calls an “inclusive classroom environment” and tries to be conscious of and available to students struggling with classroom materials.
Another focal point in Choi’s teaching is to encourage class participation and mutual communication with students. According to students, he does this by showing interest and enthusiasm in the material.
“We could all tell how passionate he is about teaching by the fact that during his lectures, he would eventually start shouting at us because he was so excited about the material,” a student writes.
That passion is often balanced with the occasional joke. “He has the perfect level of seriousness with a humorous side to him, which is underrated in the teaching world,” says a student.
William Predebon, ME-EM department chair, calls Choi “a very talented and dedicated teacher.” Predebon emphasizes Choi’s personal connection with students calling him “one of those rare people who is humble and unselfish with a passion to help his students succeed no matter what it takes. He cares about them as individuals and tries to connect with them at every level.”
Choi says he is honored and humbled by the award, calling it “the most valuable achievement I have ever made.”
“My heartfelt thanks to God and to my family, particularly my wife, Bina Kim, for helping me achieve this honor.”
Choi will receive a $2,500 monetary award and a plaque at an awards dinner sponsored by University President Glenn Mroz in the fall. Kayrn Fay, a professor of practice in Biological Sciences received the Distinguished Teaching Award in the Assistant Professor/Lecturer/Professor of Practice category.
Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, the University offers more than 125 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.