Monday, October 28, 2013

Associate Professor of Biology Hua Chen named the 2013 University Scholar at UIS

Hua Chen, associate professor of Biology at the University of Illinois Springfield, has been named University Scholar for 2013. He was the only UIS faculty member chosen for this award honoring and rewarding outstanding teachers and scholars at the three U of I campuses.

“Dr. Chen is a wonderful example of the teacher-scholar ideal,” said Lynn Pardie, UIS provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs. “His research focuses on ecosystem ecology, restoration ecology, and global change ecology, and he has published extensively in a number of highly regarded journals in his field.”

Chen’s scholarly agenda involves two lines of investigation, both of which have important implications for the dynamics of climate change -- assessing the impact of global changes in land-use and in climate on the carbon and nitrogen dynamics of restored wetlands and forest ecosystems, and exploring the relationships between native and invasive plant biodiversity within different spatial and temporal contexts.

He has received numerous competitive grants in support of his research from the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Energy’s National Institute for Climate Change Research, among others.

“Dr. Chen’s philosophy of scholarship emphasizes the importance of a reciprocal relationship between active research and teaching quality, and the value of research experience for students’ learning and pre-professional development,” said Pardie.

He teaches at all levels of the biology curriculum, both on campus and online, and he is an active mentor of student research at undergraduate and graduate levels. His skills in research pedagogy are very highly regarded by colleagues. Under his guidance, students have presented their work at academic conferences and/or co-authored articles published in peer-reviewed journals in their field.

In addition to meaningful service contributions at the department, college, and campus levels, Chen is actively engaged with his discipline. He serves as an editorial board member for several academic journals, and he is a proposal reviewer for the National Natural Science Foundation of China. He was a founding member of the Midwest-Great Lakes chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration and is a member of the UIS Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon Advisory Board.

Chen holds a B.A. in Forestry from Zhe Jiang A&F University in China, an M.A. in Forestry from the Chinese Academy of Science’s Institute of Applied Ecology, and a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology from Oregon State University.

As University Scholar, he will receive $15,000 a year for three years to support research and other scholarly activities. Faculty do not apply for this award; they are nominated by their peers. A committee of senior faculty makes the final selection.

For more information on the award, contact Derek Schnapp, director of public relations at 217/206-6716 or email

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