Professor Ying Kit Chan receives Distinguished Teaching Award

Professor Ying Kit Chan receives the 2017 College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Faculty Award for Full-time Teaching.
Professor Chan joined the faculty of the Department of Fine Arts in 1984, and has since worked with thousands of students from the freshman to doctoral level. He has integrated teaching into his own research and creative work by establishing curriculum that incorporates environmental and social justice issues. In his 32 years at the University of Louisville, Professor Chan has been a remarkably passionate, innovative, and responsive teacher. He has taught over 35 courses, renewing course content each semester to include new technologies, accommodate student needs, and reflect emerging pedagogical theories. He taught computer art beginning in the 1980s and then introduced Web design, coding, Flash animation and Net Art in the mid 1990s. In 2009 Professor Chan became a member of the first cohort of the U of L Greenthreads to receive support from the Provost’s office to incorporate sustainability in his courses.

Professor Chan has directed 95 independent studies, served on ten Ph.D. committees, chaired one undergraduate student’s CODRE/EVPR-sponsored research project, and four Honors theses. One of the most recent honor theses he directed received the “Best College Honors Thesis Project In Humanities” award ("A world in flux : envisioning climate change from an ecocentric perspective," Katlyn Brumfield, 2016).

Having served as the Head of Studio Programs for 17 years and Department Chair for five years, Professor Chan has played an important role in shaping the curriculum in Fine Arts. He drafted the M.F.A. in Art & Design curriculum and shepherded the degree proposal through the approval process.

Professor Chan has worked diligently with national organizations on issues of pedagogy, curricular standards, and foundational courses. In 1986, Professor Chan organized the first national conference of FATE (Foundation in Art: Theory and Education, a national organization dedicated to promoting excellence of teaching in art), and later served as the President of the organization (1995-1997). Professor Chan's commitment to undergraduate studies is exemplary. He consistently teaches between two and four freshman classes per year.
Professor Chan’s teaching philosophy is founded on the Aristotelian idea of eudaimonia, which encompasses fostering students’ understanding that any educational pursuit is part of a holistic achievement of self-development and self-expression. “This ethic,” he explains, “motivates students to attain a fulfilled life while at the same time contributing to a better world.” At the core of his teaching is a concern with fostering students’ intellectual growth, creative capabilities, and engagement with the world. Professor Chan encourages students to think critically about their choices as artists, their opinions as readers and spectators, and their actions in society. He establishes a safe classroom space in which an airing of different ideas can occur, with critiques and class discussions directed at a weighing of multiple positions.
Professor Chan has not only educated his students to be first-rate artists, he has also inspired them to become responsible citizens and community leaders. The list of outstanding graduates who have been influenced by Professor Chan includes Jelly Helm (BA 1987), Sharon Scott (MA 2003), Hallie Jones (BFA 2002; MAT 2010), Taylor Beisler (BFA 2015), and Jessica Bellamy (BFA 2012).

Professor Chan is a current member of the Humanities Ph.D. Program's Steering Committee and Global Curriculum Committee, the Asian Studies Program, the Social Change Program, A&S Community Engagement Council, the Conservation and Sustainability Faculty Research Group and the University-wide Sustainability Education and Research Committee.

An acclaimed artist and revered teacher, Professor Chan models a way of life that encompasses creativity, social engagement, and continued learning.


Student trip to Chicago

Picture: Professor Chan organized and led a group of forty students to visit the Chicago Contemporary Art Expo in September 2016.