Professor Yu-Ling Cheng (ChemE), Director of the Centre for Global Engineering(CGEN), has been recognized by the University of Toronto with a Distinguished Professor Award. Established in 2009, this award is designed to advance and recognize individuals with highly distinguished accomplishments. Professor Cheng will hold the title of Distinguished Professor in Global Engineering for a five-year term effective July 1.
Professor Cheng served as Chair of Engineering Science from 2000-2005. In this role, she undertook ambitious curriculum changes that have significantly enhanced this program and oversaw an enrolment expansion from about 600 to 900 students without compromising program quality. In addition, she co-developed the Biomedical Option, one of the first undergraduate biomedical engineering programs in the world.
She served as Acting Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry in 2006 and was elected Speaker of Faculty Council in 2007. In 2008, she chaired the Dean’s Task Force on Globalization. This led to the creation of CGEN, of which Professor Cheng now serves as Director. Her innovative research and educational work has the potential to change how Canadian engineers engage with the global engineering community and tackle global problems such as poverty and environmental sustainability.
Currently, Professor Cheng is leading a team of engineers in a project to reinvent the Western-style toilet to provide people in developing nations with affordable sanitation that doesn’t rely on running water, sewer systems or electricity. This effort is part of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Professor Cheng’s team was the only Canadian group selected for this project. They garnered third place for their innovative design during Phase 1 of the challenge and recently received funding to further develop their prototype.
Professor Cheng has won several awards in recognition of her commitment to engineering education. These include the President’s Teaching Award, the Faculty Award, the OCUFA Teaching Award and the Government of Ontario’s Leadership in Faculty Teaching Award. She also serves as a mentor and role model for women engineering students; her efforts in this area were recognized with the inaugural Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award from the U of T Chapter of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE).
“Professor Yu-Ling Cheng is an exceptional academician dedicated to her innovative research, her outstanding teaching and her inspired leadership within and outside the Faculty,” said Cristina Amon, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. “She is most deserving of the title of Distinguished Professor. I am delighted that she has been recognized with this prestigious honour.”