Urban education professor receives Harshini de Silva Award

Thursday, February 25, 2016

College of Education professor Chance Lewis is the 2016 recipient of the Harshini V. de Silva Award. This annual honor is presented to a faculty member who best exemplifies the commitment de Silva, a former UNC Charlotte professor, displayed to graduate student mentorship.

The Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Urban Education and executive director of the Urban Education Collaborative, Lewis began his tenure at UNC Charlotte in 2011. Since then, colleagues consistently have noted his impact on the student experience.

Lewis heads the urban education track of the College of Education’s Ph.D. program in curriculum and instruction. He also created and leads the Urban Education Doctoral Fellows Program, which provides intensive mentoring to doctoral students. Through the program, Lewis shows students how to navigate the tenure and promotion process and to develop their own unique scholarly agendas.

Scott Kissau, chair of the Department of Middle, Secondary and K-12 Education, applauded Lewis’ student-centric approach and the exponential growth of his areas of influence. “He goes above and beyond that of many graduate faculty members to make sure his students have a unique doctoral experience.”

In nomination letters, one student remarked, “Dr. Lewis fosters the development of a supportive and collegial atmosphere that helps us feel cared for and gives us a sense of place and belonging. Doctoral studies can be stressful but the support we feel from Dr. Lewis and among one another helps us get through difficult times.”

Lewis’ status as an internationally recognized scholar in the field lends gravity to his teaching and mentorship. He has more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed books and journals and has earned more than one million dollars in external grant funding. Lewis is founder and director of the International Conference on Urban Education and has served on the editorial board of more than a dozen national journals.

Course evaluations for Lewis’ classes are very positive. His research and grant development course recently received perfect scores in all categories from all students.

“It is his scholastic influence coupled with his unwavering heart for service, his humble leadership and his genuine commitment and support for his students that is a model for us all,” said former student Ayana Allen, who now teaches at Drexel University.

Lewis currently carries the highest doctoral advising load in the College of Education’s Ph.D. program. He is on pace to graduate eight doctoral students in 2016, and his students average four publications and five national conference presentations at graduation.

He earned his doctorate from Colorado State University in 2001 and was on its faculty and at Texas A&M University before joining UNC Charlotte in 2011.

Lewis received the de Silva Award during a special ceremony at the Harris Alumni Center, Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Each year, the Chancellor’s Office and the Graduate School present the Harshini V. de Silva Graduate Mentor Award; it was established in memory of de Silva, a biology professor who was known for her deep dedication to the academic and professional development of graduate students.

Click  here to see more photos for the award ceremony.