University of Minnesota physics professor Leon Hsu recently received a Horace T. Morse Alumni Association Award for his outstanding contribution to undergraduate education.
Hsu was once asked if he would ever tire of teaching. His answer was a definite “no.” Hsu’s love for teaching is good news for U physics students because in Hsu they have not only a brilliant scholar but also one who takes genuine interest in their learning.
The first thing that strikes Hsu’s students is that by the end of the first week he will know their names, whether it’s a class of 40 or 200. Hsu wants to know his students –- he encourages them to pay him a 5-minute introductory visit by offering grade boosts for those students who do.
Said one student: “It’s really exciting to find a professor at such a large school take such an interest in knowing his students. This simple gesture alone has made him shine in my memory forever.”
Hsu possesses a strong sense of responsibility toward the education of all his students. His knowledge of his students allows him to find ways to relate to each student as an individual and adapt to their unique learning needs.
“I have never had a teacher so devoted to his students’ achievement in so many ways,” a student said.
Hsu is also an innovative researcher in physics education research in the areas of helping teachers design effective instruction in introductory physics and teaching physics to non-science majors, especially culturally diverse students who have had negative experiences in science.
Hsu is by no means a one-dimensional professor. Regular visitors to the U of M Recreational Center will see him teaching aerobic classes, in which he shows the same enthusiasm and concern for his students as in his physics classes.