William Chen Wins Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award

Photo of William Chen taken in a harbour.
William Chen, 2022/23 winner of a Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award.

William Chen, a second-year PhD student in Dr. Madjid Mohseni’s research group in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, has been awarded a 2022/23 Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award!

UBC is one of the six Killam institutions and yearly awards faculty and teaching assistants who demonstrate excellence in teaching. The Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award is given to individuals who “exhibit skills, abilities and contributions that result in a high level of respect from undergraduate students and supervisors”.

Through his work as a Teaching Assistant (TA) in chemical, biological and environmental engineering courses, William has demonstrated his commitment to teaching excellence and dedication to student learning, going far beyond the requirements of tutorial facilitation, feedback on student work and office hours. This is well reflected in the comments provided by students in the end-of-term TA evaluations. Students repeatedly cite William’s depth of knowledge, helpfulness, clear communications, engaging presentations and discussions, passion and kindness. This is echoed by students who were supervised by William in a research laboratory setting. It is obvious to students and course instructors that William genuinely cares for the wellbeing and development of his students.

William’s approach to engineering education is to “empower students with the skills and confidence to make an impact in the world”. He has done this by providing active learning opportunities for his students: incorporating problem-solving prompts for active participation during lectures. He has also piloted a peer-taught tutorial format, which has received high student satisfaction. The data collected during this pilot project led to a publication that has been accepted to the Canadian Engineering Education Association Conference, being held in June 2023.

Photo of William Chen working in a laboratory.
William’s approach to engineering education is to “empower students with the skills and confidence to make an impact in the world”.

William draws on his knowledge and experience to give real-world context to the concepts he is teaching in the classroom. From developing interactive case studies where students investigate contaminated sites in Vancouver with tools used in industry, to showcasing how water treatment technology can be applied in a household water filter, William always ensures he emphasizes practical applications in the content of his lessons.

To further develop his skills, William recently completed the Certificate Program in Advanced Teaching and Learning, offered by the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology at UBC. This is a year-long, 150-hour program for graduate students interested in a career in teaching. A clear indication of his dedication and passion for education.

Congratulations William!

Find information on the other 2022/23 Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award winners on the UBC website.