Distinguished Alumni Spotlight: Chin-Chung Tsai, Science Education, Ed.D. 1996By mst • May 27th, 2013 • Category: Science Education
The Mathematics, Science, and Technology Department at Teachers College honored Dr. Chin-Chung Tsai (Ed.D. ’96, Science Education) with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011-2012. The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed upon an alumnus by the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology at Teachers College. First presented in 2004, the award is voted on by current faculty of the department and is granted annually in recognition of achievements and contributions to the fields of mathematics, science, or technology.
Dr. Tsai is Chair Professor at the Graduate Institute of Digital Learning and Education, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, and Co-Editor of Computers & Education. He is from a small town in the middle of Taiwan and majored in physics as an undergraduate at National Taiwan Normal University. He then worked as a science teacher in a public junior high school in Taipei and obtained his Master of Education degree at Harvard University before attending TC for his doctoral studies.
As a doctoral student at TC, he investigated the relationship between Taiwanese junior high school students’ epistemic beliefs regarding science and how they organized scientific information during their learning process. The primary conclusion from his study was that learners with advanced epistemic beliefs tend to acquire richer and integrated knowledge structures in science. For Dr. Tsai, his TC experience included not only excellent science courses provided by the Science Education program but also courses in instructional technology, curriculum, and educational psychology. This rich experience has allowed him to conduct extensive research in his field furthering his research agenda after graduating from TC. “Teachers College has the longest history in the field of educational research and it has a diversity of departments which offer a wide range of courses. Besides, it has a prestigious reputation in science education. Therefore, I decided to choose Teachers College for my doctoral study,” he explained. Dr. Tsai described several valuable resources at TC, from a range of fascinating courses across programs and departments to meeting people from around the world, as opportunities that greatly enhanced his academic vision and worldview. The library offered abundant research resources that helped enrich his academic work, especially at the early stage of his research career.
Dr. Tsai can vividly remember professors and courses at TC that shaped his academic and research interests. A course on neurocognitive models, taught by Professor O. Roger Anderson exposed him to cutting-edge perspectives in science education and education in general. A course on telecommunication, offered by Professor Robert Taylor, enabled him to establish a firm foundation that has informed his current research endeavors in e-learning.
He has approximately 100 publications in international journals. There are two major themes that describe his research publications. The first one is students’ conceptions of learning science, their epistemic beliefs about science, their approaches to learning science, and how these beliefs and approaches vary across different cultures. The second theme is chiefly concerned with technology-enhanced learning. His research team conducted a series of studies on people’s perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors in technology-assisted learning environments. If you are interested in learning more about his work, please visit www.cctsai.net.
Dr. Tsai does exemplary leadership work as the Chair Professor at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, where he leads a research team of three faculty members, five postdoctoral researchers, and twenty doctoral students. In July 2009, he was appointed as co-editor of Computers & Education (ranked seventh among more than 200 educational journals indexed in Social Sciences Citation Index by 2011 impact factor values). Annually, he manages more than 400 submissions from scholars around the world.
In addition to his academic and leadership responsibilities, Dr. Tsai is an active member of education associations, such as the National Association for Research in Science Teaching and the American Educational Research Association, and has been a keynote speaker and conference chair at major national and international meetings. In spite of his demanding schedule, he enjoys jogging to help him relax. During longer vacations, he enjoys adventurous escapes to different countries.
By Deiana Jackson, Graduate Student, Mathematics Education Ed.D.