Prof. Karen Chou Awarded T. William Heyck Award

Karen Chou, Professor of Civil Engineering, was awarded the 2018-2019 T. William Heyck Award on Friday, June 8th for her exemplary use of time, perspective, and expertise as a fellow to enhance the residential experience and create a more seamless undergraduate experience, in which students appreciate the connections between the many facets of their Northwestern education and personal development.

The T. William Heyck Award was established in the 2015-16 academic year to honor T. William (Bill) Heyck, one of the founders and champions of Northwestern’s residential college program. The Professor Emeritus of British and Irish History passed away in September 2014. During his career, Professor Heyck chaired committees that led to the launch and expansion of Northwestern’s unique residential college model. While these committees were focused on the residential colleges, their educational goals were universal. The following excerpt from the Heyck-led committee’s 1972 proposal captures the spirit of this award:

Many students desire a better environment for learning, both through closer, less formal, faculty-student contact, and through connections between the academic and ‘outside’ worlds. They also desire a sense of ‘community’—including both themselves and the faculty.

As the residential colleges evolved, affiliated fellows became central to the program’s mission. Faculty and staff serving as fellows enrich the Northwestern experience by participating in the life of their college and engaging with student members. The Heyck Award recognizes people who exemplify Heyck’s vision of promoting community and advancing learning in the residential context. 

In consultation with the college staff, each residential college’s executive board will set its own internal criteria and process for nominating one fellow for the Heyck Award. The letter should detail the fellow’s contributions to the residential college during the academic year (e.g., consistent attendance at meals and events, offering firesides, leading outings, etc.). A committee of members from the Office of the Provost and Division of Student Affairs will review nominations and select up to two winners.

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