Boston University Recognizes Professors May 19 for Excellence in Teaching

Contact: Richard Taffe, 617-353-4626 |

Boston, MA — – Boston University at Commencement today bestows its highest teaching award to Dr. Laisheng Lee Chou, DMD, Ph.D., a professor and director of the Division of Oral Medicine in the School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Chou has been named the 29th recipient of the Metcalf Cup and Prize, chosen from more than 3,000 faculty members at the University.

The University also is recognizing three faculty members who will receive Metcalf Awards for Teaching Excellence: Fred S. Kleiner, a professor of art history and archaeology in the Department of Art History; Diana Wylie, an associate professor in the African Studies Center and Department of History; and Theo de Winter, an associate professor in the Department of Manufacturing Engineering.

“Boston University’s most profound purpose is to encourage excellence in teaching. The Metcalf Awards recognize and thank these influential individuals for their lasting contributions to this mission,” said Jon Westling, president of Boston University.

The Metcalf Cup carries with it a prize of $10,000, and each Metcalf Award winner receives a prize of $5,000. Students, faculty and alumni nominate candidates for the Metcalf Cup and Prize, as well as the Metcalf Awards.Laisheng Lee Chou

A world renowned expert lecturer in bone tissue engineering, molecular biocompatibility of implant materials, and HIV-associated oral lesions, Dr. Chou also is a professor in the School of Dental Medicine’s Departments of Restorative Sciences/Biomaterials and director of its Oral AIDS Clinic. He has developed new courses and an array of new methods of instruction since joining the faculty in 1994, and holds patents for a number of biomedical inventions, including one for scaffolds for bone tissue engineering.

A tireless teacher, clinician, researcher and administrator, he is famous within the School of Dental Medicine for his clarity when teaching state-of-the-art, complex material. “The ease with which Dr. Chou explains challenging material is a testament to his genuine brilliance as a teacher,” says a former student. A current graduate student notes of the Chinese-born professor, “Not only is he an expert within multiple areas of dentistry, he is also able to communicate his knowledge appropriately to his students.”

As a true testament to his teaching excellence, Dr. Chou has left a legacy of students who have incorporated his organized methods and compassionate attitudes in classrooms and labs where they now teach or in treating patients in their dental practices. “Smart but down-to-earth,” says another former student, “Dr. Chou is exceptional because he is not just a star; he makes new stars and helps them shine.”

Before joining the Boston University faculty, Dr. Chou was a fellow at both the Medical Research Council of Canada and the University of Chicago, principal investigator for the oral pathology division of the University of California’s School of Dentistry in San Francisco, and taught at both Shanghai Railway Medical University and Shanghai No. 2 Medical University in China. He received his doctorate of dental medicine in 1978 from Shanghai No. 2 Medical University, postdoctoral diplomas in oral pathology and oral medicine from the University of California, and his Ph.D. in oral biology from the University of British Columbia.Fred S. Kleiner

As a teacher, Fred Kleiner leaves a distinct impression. His “Introduction to Art History” is often an undergraduate’s first exposure to serious art scholarship – an enchanting, enlightening series of eloquent, enthusiastic, fact-packed, 90-minute guided tours through the ages of art. His ardent mentoring of graduate students and continually constructive criticism of their research projects often matures into trusted-colleague status in the world of classical art and archaeology.

“Professor Kleiner seems to appreciate the tremendous responsibility of an instructor; he considers not just what he will teach, but how best to communicate, to evaluate, to encourage and to inspire. In Professor Kleiner’s hands, art becomes a medium for traveling through time, and around the world, to experience the wonders of distant cultures,” says a current student. Adds a former graduate student: “Professor Kleiner challenged his students to consider their research from a multitude of angles, but mixed this within an environment of such positivism that it was never perceived as work or frustration.”

Professor Kleiner’s impact beyond Boston University is evident in his work as principal author of recent editions of the “Gardner’s Art through the Ages,” which won the McGuffey Prize as best college textbook in the humanities and social sciences, his long-time role as editor-in-chief of the “American Journal of Archaeology,” and as host of Cablevision’s six-part “Art History” TV series.

On the Boston University faculty since 1978, Professor Kleiner earlier taught at the University of Virginia and as a visiting professor at Yale University. He received a B.A. in art history from the University of Pennsylvania, and both his master’s and doctorate in art history and archaeology from Columbia University.Diana Wylie

Professor Diana Wylie is widely acknowledged for her ability to make the history of Africa and Africans relevant to the lives of students. Her captivating lectures, laced with indigenous music or pictures from her extensive travels, dispel media-made myths of Africa by replacing erroneous generalizations with complex historical questions to be explored. Through this process of providing both creative thinking tools and the informational resources to answer questions accurately, Professor Wylie instills not only a desire to learn but also to understand.

“Anybody with the proper degrees can be a professor, but only a gifted few can be a teacher. Professor Wylie is one of these gifted few,” says a former student. “Like a true teacher, Professor Wylie infected me with an increased thirst for knowledge and an increased desire to engage in scholarship. She taught me the art of scholarship. She taught me to think critically. She taught me how to uncover history. She taught me how to retell history. She taught me how to analyze history. She taught me how to be a history scholar.”

Professor Wylie’s gift for interpreting and retelling the histories of distant cultures grew from three decades of research across the African continent, including early stints with the Peace Corps in Kenya and as a journalism teacher at Algeria’s University of Oran. Her forceful perspectives are voiced in many publications, including her book “Starving on a Full Stomach: Hunger and the Triumph of Cultural Racism in Modern South Africa” and a contribution in the “Oxford History of the British Empire” on the human impact of African colonization.

Joining the Boston University faculty in 1994, Professor Wylie received a B.A. in modern European history from Goucher College, a master’s in literature from Edinburgh University and her Ph.D. in history from Yale University. She also has taught at Yale, Harvard University, Mount Holyoke College and Vassar College.Theo de Winter

Since the era of the first moon landing, Professor Theo de Winter has been dispensing down-to-earth wisdom to generations of engineering students at Boston University. Practical, tough-minded and witty, he has earned a reputation for energizing student interest in the subject of manufacturing engineering, and enthusiastically guiding them as they pursue careers in the industry where he had already earned his spurs before entering academia. His appreciation for the realities of the business world and deft ability to convey them through humorous anecdotes has equipped his charges with both the technical skills and ethical grounding needed to succeed.

“Professor de Winter taught me the meaning of manufacturing engineering and how it relates to ‘real life’ applications,” says a former student. “He showed me what it meant to be an engineer and most importantly what it meant to become a good engineer using knowledge, common sense, and a good set of ethics.” Another recalls de Winter’s counseling: “His office was always filled with students. We left with a better understanding of resources available to us in the manufacturing arena, a new found appreciation for the values and professionalism with which we should carry ourselves, or a clearer picture of our responsibilities to the industry.”

Professor de Winter began lecturing at Boston University in 1962, joining the faculty in 1969. His previous professional career began at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in 1956 and included top engineering posts at Dynatech Corporation and AVCO before he co-founded the Magnetic Corporation of America company in Waltham. He received a B.A. in math and physics from Bowdoin College and three advanced degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT.