From the Desk of the Dean

Dean Wei R. ChenDear CMS Alumni and Friends,

Greetings from the Dean’s Office. I hope you had a great winter break and a wonderful holiday season.

Spring always brings us a new spirit and fresh ideas, and often new challenges. This spring, we are facing a crisis – the COVID-19 pandemic that affects our health, our lives, and our education. However, in Chinese, “crisis” is composed of two characters: “danger” and “opportunity”. The current crisis is not an exception. While we are preparing to face down the danger, we are also looking for opportunities to carry on our duties: producing needed STEM graduates. The CMS faculty and staff are working hard to prepare for alternative methods to deliver classes. Our faculty and students are resilient, resourceful, and dedicated. Nothing will defeat us. Please rest assured that our students will receive the education they deserve and they will graduate on time!

The heart and soul of the team that is always prepared to overcome any obstacles are our faculty. CMS has the best faculty in the country. I cannot brag enough about them. I would need to write a book in order to include all their achievements. Here I just want to mention a few wonderful people in our college.

Dr. David Bass, a 35-year veteran biology professor, was selected to receive the 2020 Oklahoma Medal for Excellence award. This is considered the highest award in public education. Dr. Bass was selected because of his dedication to teaching and mentoring students. He will receive a medal and a glass sculpture, “Roots and Wings”, designed by the late Oklahoma Artist Ron Roberts. His award will be sweetened by a $5,000 check.

In my nomination letter, I described Dr. Bass this way, “Even though Bass has been a professor at UCO for 35 years, he still works as if he were a green Ph.D. starting his first semester of teaching. He treats each class as a new adventure, constantly revising lecture notes, adding new content, and experimenting with new delivery approaches.” I am sure the faculty and students who know Dr. Bass would wholeheartedly agree with me.

More information can be found at the following websites:

Medal for Excellence Winners

I am also pleased to report to you that in the past five years, in addition to Dr. Bass, two other CMS professors have received this high honor: Dr. Wayne Lord, a professor with joint appointments in the UCO Forensic Science Institute and the Department of Biology (2019) and Dr. Bill Caire, a professor emeritus of the Department of Biology (2016). I am also certain that people in CMS and outside CMS would agree with me that we have many more professors who deserve this recognition.

I am looking forward to sharing more wonderful news in the near future.

Wei R. Chen, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Mathematics and Science