By Julia Duvall
Yanjun Yan, associate professor in Western Carolina University’s College of Engineering and Technology, has been named the recipient of the 2023 University of North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Since 1993, the Board of Governors has chosen one tenured faculty member from each of the 17 schools within the UNC System to receive the award each year.
Yan, who first came to WCU in 2013, has received numerous awards for her work with students and community engagement and has published more than 50 conference proceedings and journal papers.
“I am coming up on my 10th year at WCU and I have learned so much from my colleagues in not only the School of Engineering and Technology, but from all across campus, especially in the Coulter Faculty Commons,” Yan said. “We are unique at WCU with our project-based learning that really benefits the students and makes them career-ready when they graduate.”
Students praise Yan for her enthusiasm and care as well as her ability to bring out their best by challenging them. Since coming to WCU, Yan has added a travel course to the School of Engineering and Technology curriculum, collaborating with several other departments on campus to execute these once-in-a-lifetime trips for students and faculty.
Yan and her students have also collaborated across campus and throughout the community on various service-learning projects including a multidimensional art project with the School of Art and Design and a sensory board for participants at Full Spectrum Farms, a local nonprofit that serves children and adults with autism.
In addition to her work at WCU, Yan received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award and visited Bulgaria in 2021.
Yan earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Harbin Institute of Technology in Harbin, Heilongjiang, China. She then earned a master’s degree in applied statistics and a doctorate in electrical engineering from Syracuse University.