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CMU professor honored for teaching excellence

Carl Lee, founding chair and faculty member in the Central Michigan University Department of Statistics, Actuarial and Data Sciences, has been recognized by the Michigan Association of State Universities as a recipient of the 2022 Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year award. The award recognizes the contributions and dedication of faculty from Michigan’s 15 public universities to the education of undergraduate students. Lee is one of three 2022 recipients.

In the award announcement, MASU recognized Lee’s significant impact on undergraduate student learning through hands-on learning activities, applied research, experimental learning and innovation.

Lee implements what he calls the P.A.C.E. model of teaching, which emphasizes projects, hands-on activities, cooperative learning and exercises. Lee says his motivation lies in conducting research to investigate how students best learn quantitative concepts.

“As a professor, you must find ways to get students interested and motivated,” Lee said. “One way I have been successful is by finding activities that really associate with their daily lives and piques their interest.” 

Lee is known for designing the undergraduate statistics and actuarial science program at CMU, in addition to creating an interdisciplinary program on campus in data science. This involved coordinating a new degree and major with faculty from four colleges and nine academic departments, said Lee.

Lee said data science has a variety of different applications. “We want students with different levels of experience to have a chance to learn the basics of data science,” Lee said. “Using data evidence for decision making is very important in the business industry as well as our daily living, so we think students in all areas should have the opportunity to do that.”

Lee said he believes education provides students with hope.

“As a professor, seeing students come into class with disadvantages or high levels of talent they aren’t aware of, you want to encourage them to aim higher,” he said. “I strongly believe that education, regardless of level, is to provide students with hope and help them see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Of the award, Lee said he is simply grateful to be recognized.

“There are many outstanding faculty deserving this recognition at CMU.” Lee said. “I am fortunate and honored to represent our outstanding faculty to receive this award.”