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MU Professor Awarded 2011 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence

April 5th, 2011

Story Contact: Nathan Hurst, 573-882-6217,

By Brad Fischer

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton and Commerce Bank Chairman Jim Schatz of Commerce Bank today awarded one of the 2011 William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence to Elizabeth Chang, an assistant professor in the department of English in the MU College of Arts and Science.

Deaton, Schatz and a group of professors, administrators and staff surprised Chang by honoring her with the Fellowship, which includes a $10,000 award. Fellowships are awarded to five outstanding teachers at the University of Missouri each year.

The William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence were established in 1991 with a $500,000 gift. Kemper, a 1926 MU graduate, was a well-known civic leader in Kansas City until his death in 1989. His 52-year career in banking included top positions at banks in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Commerce Bank manages the trust fund.

Elizabeth Chang Bio

Elizabeth Chang, assistant professor in the Department of English since 2004, has a gift for asking questions that drive discussion and analytical thinking. She teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in Victorian literature and other topics.

“I have never had a teacher phrase questions like Dr. Chang,” former student Kathryn Wilke said. “She asks her students to view the larger issues and how they affect society, gender or other topics.”

Chang encourages students not to just read Victorian literature, but imagine themselves in the time the text was written. To understand the time period, she presents images of Victorian England and takes students to Ellis Library to flip through period magazines. She says this gives students a chance to have a truly lasting experience that could not be achieved by looking at images of the magazines in a presentation.

“Professor Chang has created a good environment for learning,” said William Kerwin, associate professor of English. “Students clearly trust her enough to say what they really think, and she and they work collaboratively as they work through the discussion.”

Chang has taught 15 different courses in nine semesters, far more than what would be expected. In 2007, Chang presented to graduate teaching assistants on “How to Lead an Effective Discussion” at the University of Missouri College Teaching Seminar. She has served as an advisor for 11 doctoral students, three master’s students and three undergraduates.

Chang earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a doctoral degree from the University of California at Berkeley.