Dr. Chitra Rangan – 2015 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics

03/12/2015
Congratulations to Dr Rangan for the 2015 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics!

“I am thrilled and humbled that my colleagues and students nominated and supported me for this national award. Thanks to the CAP for valuing and promoting undergraduate physics teaching excellence.”

The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) is pleased to announce that the 2015 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to Chitra Rangan, University of Windsor, for her unstoppable commitment to optimizing student interest in physics by employing a wide range of active instructional strategies to enhance student learning, and for being a steadfast advocate for active and research-based learning as well as effective communication skills in science.

Dr. Rangan first came to the University of Windsor 2004 with great promise as an outstanding teacher, and that promise has been wonderfully fulfilled. In addition to her natural abilities as a communicator and educator, she has undertaken a serious study of the education process itself in order to develop her own unique philosophy and techniques. This work is having an important impact across the University of Windsor and beyond.

The comments from her students attest to the profound impact that Dr. Rangan has had in the classroom. Her focus is to develop the complete person through the honing of personal skills and critical thought, as a complement to the principles of physics. The teaching techniques themselves have been outstandingly successful in achieving a higher retention rate, especially among the weaker students.

Her broader contributions to teaching across the University of Windsor and into the local high schools are equally important. She was awarded one of the first University of Windsor Teaching Leadership Chairs. She has become widely recognized for her contributions to science teaching at all levels, and for her enthusiastic encouragement of others to get involved. She has recently launched PEARL (Promotion of Experiential and Research-Based Learning), and is actively developing broad-based programs in cooperation with the Faculty of Education.

In addition to her deep and lasting contributions to teaching, Dr. Rangan finds time to remain an active researcher and supervisor of both graduate students and undergraduate research projects. Her research combines her traditional work in atomic and molecular physics with more recent work on gold nanoparticles and applications in medical physics. Her 24 refereed articles have been cited a total of 345 times. Her research is well-supported by NSERC, and it has provided a fertile ground for an amazing total of 31 undergraduate research projects since 2004, as well as for graduate students. She also contributes to the broader scientific community as the current Chair of the DAMOPC Division of CAP and member of the CAP Council. She has held many other positions of influence and responsibility in both the CAP and the APS, in addition to being the Head of the Windsor Physics Department! She is the perfect embodiment of the principle that good teaching and good research go hand-in-hand.

The CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching honours faculty members who have a comprehensive knowledge and deep understanding of their subject and who possess an exceptional ability to communicate their knowledge and understanding in such a way as to lead their students to high academic achievement in physics. This medal was introduced in 1996 and has been awarded annually since.

Dr. Rangan will be presented with her medal at the 2015 CAP Congress (hosted by the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, from June 15-19) at the end of her plenary talk and will be recognized during the Congress Recognition Reception at the Art Gallery on Thursday, June 18, 2015. Please refer to the Congress program for the schedule of plenary talks by CAP medal winners.

The Canadian Association of Physicists, founded in 1945, is a professional association representing over 1600 individual physicists and physics students in Canada, the U.S. and overseas, as well as a number of Corporate, Institutional, and Departmental Members. In addition to its learned activities, the CAP also undertakes a number of activities intended to encourage students to pursue a career in physics.

[Source: Canadian Association of Physicists]