Dr. Judy Yuan Receives AAFP Teaching Award

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Dr. Judy Yuan, Assistant Professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, has been chosen as the recipient of the 2012 American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics’ Claude R. Baker Teaching Award.

The award acknowledges excellence in teaching demonstrated by innovative teaching methods, student awards, and exceptional use of course materials. Not only does this award recognize a faculty member’s dedication to a field of study, but it also specifically targets a love and passion for teaching.

Long prior to receiving this award, Dr. Yuan noticed her teaching style evolving through her love of teaching and of being around students. While she initially attempted to convey information to students in a typical lecture format, she has transformed into a “mentor who inspires students to think,” she said. With a simple process of “encouraging student preparedness, rewarding their enthusiasm, stimulating conversation about concepts, and demonstrating clinical skills in a respectful approach,” she noted, Dr. Yuan is able to connect with students on a much deeper level, foregoing the typical teacher-student power relationship, and instead establishing a warm, comfortable learning environment between equals.

While Dr. Yuan was recognized for her outstanding devotion to teaching, she also is a dedicated student as well. “I value education as a lifelong learning process,” she said, insisting that this “love to learn” is what she hopes to transfer most to her pupils. Dr. Yuan works with her students so as to facilitate open communication, while still maintaining appropriate boundaries to “promote evidence-based education in a patient-centered setting,” she said.

For Dr. Yuan, the award recognizes the elements of her teaching, and represents the value she places on education for all. “I am very grateful to the American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics for their recognition, and to my peers and department head, Dr. Stephen Campbell, for their support,” Dr. Yuan said.

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