2022-23 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Faculty Award for Student Development

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Prof. Albert Courey

Albert Courey, Professor of Biochemistry and Associate Dean of Physical Sciences for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), has been selected by the UCLA Academic Senate for the 2022-2023 DEI Faculty Award for Student Development. 

According to the Academic Senate’s Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, this award honors a faculty member “who has excelled in teaching and mentoring a diverse student body, has taught or is currently teaching a large number of undergraduate classes, has aided in the development of academic support or mentoring programs, has established pipeline programs from high schools and community colleges, has created curricula enabling students to appreciate the dynamics of inter-group relations by enhancing free exchange of ideas surrounding controversial issues, or has developed teaching methods that are especially inclusive and interactive.”

Courey joined the UCLA faculty in 1990 and was promoted to full professor in 1999. He has served the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as Graduate Advisor (2003-2005), Vice Chair for Education (2001-2005), and Chair (2008-2012). In his research, Courey uses Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism to study transcriptional control mechanisms as well as the cell and developmental biology of SUMO, a ubiquitin-family protein.

As Associate Dean of Physical Sciences for DEI, a position in which he has served since 2016, Courey has worked to develop events that foster increased persistence of diverse students in the physical sciences. This has included a yearly welcome event that has a goal instilling a growth mindset and a sense of social belonging in our students, both of which are key to persistence of diverse students. Most recently, Courey has been working with Divisional DEI coordinator Britney Robinson to develop a summer bridge program for incoming physical science majors, which will be offered for the first time this summer. The goal of this program is to increase self-efficacy and the sense of community in students from disadvantaged backgrounds thereby increasing their persistence in the sciences.

Courey has also worked with Professor Jennifer Casey and others to develop and teach highly supported new versions of our general chemistry courses for life science majors specifically intended to increase persistence of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. An analysis just published in the Journal of Chemical Education shows that these courses are improving the persistence of students, their performance in subsequent chemistry courses, and their sense of belonging in chemistry.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.