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Chen receives President’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Advancing Globalization

July 12, 2021
Chen receives President’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Advancing Globalization

Profile photo of Frank Chen

Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Lutcher Brown Distinguished Chair in Manufacturing, F. Frank Chen, has received the President’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Advancing Globalization for his impressive record in developing international collaborations that enhance the UTSA student community and serve as a model for advancing the institution’s global initiatives. 

"I greatly appreciate the wonderful recognition provided by the university, and the departmental and college's support of my nomination. There are plenty of opportunities faculty, staff and students can do to enhance UTSA's global visibility or broaden students' awareness of global issues," says Chen. "I look forward to continuing work with Dr. Lisa Montoya, VP-Global Initiatives and her staff in expanding international collaborations."

While Chen has consistently been involved with international collaborations throughout his career, his recent work with the National Formosa University (NFU) in Taiwan and Jeonbuk National University (JBNU) in South Korea have created enriching educational, cultural, research and experiential opportunities for the UTSA community. 

Chen promoted the invitation of both the NFU and JBNU delegation’s visits to UTSA, partnering with the UTSA Office of Global Initiatives and the Chief International Officer to plan their itinerary, transportation, industry/government tours, and sight-seeing activities. Through his efforts, UTSA and the NFU came to an agreement that allows the exchange of faculty, staff and students as well as joint research and continuing education programs. 

NFU’s three-year sponsored contract agreement grants UTSA faculty and staff $417,697 for the development and education of NFU students studying advanced manufacturing. The grant enables UTSA faculty to develop carefully designed technical and language programs that allow students to meet requirements for the Lean Six Sigma and Advanced Manufacturing certificates. The first cohort of students in this program (2019-2020) ranked the experience 5.0 out of 5.0. 

The success of the program, despite the interruption of a global pandemic, has inspired talks to increase the number of NFU student participants and acquire more financial support from NFU. It has also led to a new UTSA-NFU agreement for a two-year train-the-trainers program. With an additional commitment of $88,000, faculty affiliated with the UTSA Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Lean Systems (CAMLS) will provide coaching and mentoring for five NFU engineering faculty members on the instruction and delivery of industry short courses.

Chen’s efforts were also the catalyst in an agreement between UTSA and the JBNU for faculty/student exchange and joint international research programs. While specifics of this agreement were interrupted by the pandemic, coordination will resume once physical travel is safe. 

Chen has also advanced UTSA’s global recognition through his service as chair, co-chair and keynote speaker at several well-established international conferences as well as an invited reviewer for many international programs. Chen has collaborated with the Tecnológico de Monterrey to develop joint proposals for competing in the ConTex 2020 Program. He has also collaborated with international researchers on jointly editing conference proceedings and special issues of technical journals. 

Chen was instrumental in bringing the 24th International Conference on Flexible Automation and Intelligent Manufacturing (FAIM) to UTSA’s downtown campus in 2014. For his many contributions to the conference, Chen was inducted as a permanent Honorary Chair in 2016. 

Chen is an elected fellow of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and a fellow of the Institute of Industrial and System Engineers. He serves on the Administration Committee and Branding Committee for the College of Engineering. He also serves as chair of the Department Faculty Review Advisory committee (DFRAC) and is the Faculty Advisor for the UTSA Student Badminton Club. 

“Dr. Chen has been very active in promoting international collaborations including pursuit of institutional cooperative agreements, joint research proposals, chairing and co-chairing of international conferences, and joint editing of journal special issues with foreign universities and scholars in all continents,” says Zachry Endowed Chair and Professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Hai-Chao Han. “His efforts have created educational, research, cultural, and experiential opportunities for UTSA students and faculty members.”

The Advancing Globalization Award recognizes an individual or team of faculty who have significantly expanded UTSA’s involvement in the global arena. The distinguished faculty have made contributions in the development and implementation of international components into the curriculum, study abroad programs and/or collaborations with foreign institutions.